Indiana's new academic standards ready for review

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Indiana students will soon have to meet a new set of educational standards.

At 9:00 AM The Department of Education and Center for Education and Career Innovation released the final draft of proposed academic standards for Math and English/Language Arts.

Those standards will take the place of the Common Core standards that the state dropped. They expect students to learn more, but more importantly put what they know to work.

The new standards came after thousands of hours of discussion between more than 150 Hoosier educators, higher education experts and members of the business community. According to the authors of the new standards, they took into consideration more than 2,000 public comments.

The authors say that in some areas, the new standards exceed the common core standards. For instance there are now standards for more advanced math such as trigonometry and calculus.

For years, private industry leaders have criticized schools for not teaching students basic career and thinking skills. For the first time, they worked with educators and educational experts to write the new standards, standards that expect students not only to master specific skills but also how use them. That means when students leave the classroom, they are better prepared for careers and colleges.

We caught up with Chris Kaufman teaching a Beech Grove High School science class. He helped write Indiana's current academic standards and has been following the writing of the new academic standards.

"What we are looking at is a depth of knowledge; not necessarily that you know how to do algebra, but you also know how to solve things with algebra problems," Kaufman said.

Like many educators, he is eager to see the new standards.

"With new standards, we become new teachers again," Kaufman explained. "We have to go back and re-evaluate everything we've done and determine whether they meet those standards."

A parent comparing the new standards to the old standards might have a difficult time seeing what's different about what their children are learning in the classroom.

"Every second grader is still going to read and write." said Assistant State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Danielle Shockey "There are changes in some of the rigor of the specific skills at grade level," she added.

These new academic standards face two tests before they are finalized. First, an Education Roundtable including Gov. Mike Pence, education officials, business leaders and teachers will vote Monday. After that, the State Board of Education has until July to approve them in order to meet a 2013 legislative mandate to either adopt or replace the national Common Core standards.

If both groups pass the new standards as expected, they will be in effect for the next school year. The new standards would mean changes for ISTEP testing, but those changes would not come until the spring of 2016.

You can read them online at the State Board of Education's website.