Schools making the grade in new curriculum

By: Sheli Muniz Email
By: Sheli Muniz Email

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Friday, Nov. 30, 2012

HARLEM, Ga. -- For the first time, students in Georgia and South Carolina are studying the same curriculum as kids across the country. It's part of the new Common Core curriculum implemented this year in schools.

So, a few months into the new standards, News 12 wanted to know if it was making the grade.

Whether you ask eighth grader Lexi Mays or Jonathan Worrell, you will get the same answer.

"The reading they do is more difficult, the questions they're asked are more difficult," said Harlem Middle School eighth grade math teacher Laura Collins.

It's a way to even out the playing field.

"We want our kids to go anywhere in the U.S. or anywhere in the country and compete," Collins said.

"Well before, we didn't go into much detail, but now it's like everything is more difficult," Lexi said.

It's now more about the material and less about memorizing formulas in math class, which means even math tests could include some writing portions. It's a new way of learning for Lexi and a new way of teaching for Collins.

"If at first you don't succeed, try, try again," Collins said.

That is the mantra in this new style. The class doesn't move on until every student understands the material, even if that means retaking quizzes.

"I'll give it a 'B,'" said Sharon Carson, director of student learning in Columbia County.

Speaking of grades, we wanted to know what this meant for those report cards coming home soon.

"That 'A' means a lot more than it used to, or that 'B' or that 'C,' because the students have to work that much harder for the grades that they are earning," Carson said.

"It is more rigorous. It is more difficult, but as a parent, you just provide the support that they need," Collins said.

"It's more difficult, so it makes me pay attention more, it helps me with my grades and it helps them stay up," Jonathan said.

Staying up, stepping up for Lexi and Jonathan.

Bottom line: The idea is to level out the playing field so your students can compete with anyone across the country.

For those 11th and 12th grade students, teachers say it is more beneficial. They say that is because they are learning to write and read like at the level expected in colleges.

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