Skills Set Proposed For Students Nationwide

Nick Anderson:

Experts convened by the nation’s governors and state schools chiefs on Monday proposed a set of math and English skills students should master before high school graduation, the first step toward what advocates hope will become common standards driving instruction in classrooms from coast to coast.
The proposal aims to lift expectations for students beyond current standards, which vary widely from state to state, and establish for the first time an effective national consensus on core academic goals to help the United States keep pace with global competitors. Such agreement has proven elusive in the past because of a long tradition of local control over standards, testing and curriculum.
In math, the proposal envisions that students would be able to solve systems of equations; find and interpret rates of change; and adapt probability models to solve real-world problems. In English language arts, they would be able to analyze how word choices shape the meaning and tone of a text; develop a style and tone of writing appropriate to a task and audience; and respond constructively to advance a discussion and build on the input of others.