Education, From The Capitol To The Classroom

How To Give Indiana Education Officials Feedback On New Academic Standards

State education officials have released drafts of math and English language arts standards for public comment.

Elle Moxley / StateImpact Indiana

State education officials have released drafts of math and English language arts standards for public comment.

Maybe you spent your weekend the same way I spent mine — shifting through the 98-page draft of proposed academic standards.

And maybe you noticed that calculating the volume of a rectangular prism is again a fifth grade standard, not a sixth grade standard as it is in Common Core.

“There was one topic that our group spent probably 30 minutes debating,” says Manchester University professor Tim Brauch, who sat on the standards evaluation panel earlier this month. “In fifth grade science, under the current science standards, students are expected to use volume.”

And under the Indiana academic standards adopted in 2000, volume was also a fifth grade math standard. The panel of K-5 math educators and subject matter experts reviewing student expectations thought the two sets of standards should be internally consistent. And that meant getting volume back into fifth grade.

But if kids are going to calculate volume, says Brauch, they also need to be able to multiply three numbers — the formula is length times width times height.

“We actually took a standard that’s currently in fifth grade and considered moving it down to fourth grade to ensure that the foundation in fourth grade was there,” says Brauch. “Eventually we ended up pulling it out and putting it back in fifth grade. This was a really long discussion: At the end of fourth grade, will they have foundation they need to do volume in fifth grade?”

So Where Does Volume Belong?

Now it’s your turn. The Indiana Department of Education is accepting feedback on the draft standards for the next three weeks.

So ask yourself: Do you agree with Brauch and the other educators on the K-5 standards review panel? Does calculating volume belong in fifth grade? Or is there just not enough of a multiplication foundation to teach it before sixth grade?

“We want people to talk to us about specifics, of things they think are missing or lacking in the standards,” says Indiana Deputy Superintendent Danielle Shockey. “This is so much beyond the Common Core or not the Common Core. This is about the fact does in first grade, does it make sense for my child to learn this?”

It’s that kind of feedback — comments on specific standards — state education officials are looking for at the public hearings tonight, tomorrow and Wednesday:

  • 3 to 7 p.m. EST, Feb. 24: Ivy Tech Community College-Southern Indiana, Horseshoe Foundation Assembly Center, Ogle Hall, Community Room, 8204 Highway 311, Sellersburg.
  • 3 to 7 p.m. EST Feb. 25: Indiana State Library, History Reference Room, 315 W. Ohio St. Indianapolis.
  •  3 to 7 p.m. EST Feb. 26: Plymouth High School, Weidner School of Inquiry Room NT 201, 810 Randolph Dr., Plymouth.

If you can’t make it to one of the meetings, no worries — you can also submit your feedback online until 11 a.m. March 12.

Follow @ellemoxley for updates from the three public comment sessions hearing this week.


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