Students Give Okay To "Challenging" Common Core - 47 ABC - Delmarva's Choice

Students Give Okay To "Challenging" Common Core

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OCEAN CITY, Md. - Field testing for Maryland's new assessment test PARCC got underway in many schools this week.

The format is rigorous focusing on critical-thinking and problem-solving.

Some like it, while detractors are trying to distance themselves from the Common Core standards.

But the common denominator with Common Core, at least among the students WMDT spoke with, actually like the test.

"The questions are definitely challenging and it makes you think a little more than the basic level questions that look for comprehension," said 11th grader Devan Ogburn.

The issue for the Maryland State Department of Education: figuring out funding to upgrade technology in state schools so students can take the test in its intended digital format.

Upgrades are estimated at $100 million. The state is allowing  three more years for test takers to use old-fashioned pencil and paper as well as an online version for the state's new career and college based test.

"They're doing everything they can to accommodate for the needs for the test," said Val Emrich, director of instructional technologies, State of Maryland. "We know there are going to be gaps."

Principal Mary Anne Cooper says you won't see those technological gaps at Snow Hill Elementary.
"At any given point, if you would walk into a classroom, you'll see students on iPads," said Cooper.

The computer lab at the school has dozens of touch screen computers. It's also where a class of third graders field tested Maryland's new test in accordance with Common Core standards.

"The biggest difference in the curriculum is the real emphasis on problem solving," said Cooper. "It is about being prepared for PARCC, but it's about being ready for life."

Nationwide, Common Core continues to draw strong reactions both for and against the program.

In Indiana, where parents were outraged by the education benchmarks, the state already dumped the program completely.

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