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What’s Different in Arizona’s Revised Math and English Standards?

by Expect More Arizona

Arizona’s English and math standards were recently revised by Arizona educators and we’ve heard from many of you asking about the differences between the new version and the 2010 standards. Below is a brief overview highlighting the proposed updates or additions in the 2016 standards.

Please note: If these standards are adopted, specific changes in the classroom will depend on what your school is already doing. For example, many schools already teach cursive, so they may just need to check to ensure what they are doing lines up with the standards. Additionally, some of these changes are technical in nature and designed to help educators determine how to teach the standards. Examples of these technical changes include adding new glossaries, clarifying definitions of fluency in math, and further describing the 8 Mathematical Practices. We suggest speaking with leadership at your school to better understand the impact of the proposed changes.

English Language Arts
Added Cursive – Standards were added in grades K-3 to help students read and write in cursive.
Increased the Focus on Phonics – The standards in grades K-5 were updated to increase the focus on phonics and to help students build on what they are learning from one grade to the next.
New Glossary – A new glossary was added to share common definitions and some examples of key terms, making it easier to understand things like rhyme recognition, breaking words into syllables, spellings and sounds of consonants and vowels, and more.
Teachers and Schools Decide on the Amount of Informational and Literary Texts Used in the English Lessons and Classrooms – The 2010 standards  included suggestions on how much informational and literary texts should be included across the school day. The revised standards leave it up to schools and teachers to determine the amount of literary and informational texts read by students. (Examples of informational texts include nonfiction, creative nonfiction, biography, autobiography, how-to books, and books about history, among others. Examples of literary texts include books, plays, or poems that tell stories, including fictional novels.)

Math
Separated Algebra 1 and Algebra 2 – In 2010, these standards were grouped together. Now they are separated by course.
New “Math Plus” Standards were Added – These standards are higher level math standards beyond what all students need to know in Algebra 1, Geometry and Algebra 2. Schools can include them in honors, accelerated, advanced courses, or 4th year math courses.
Moved Statistics out of Algebra 2 – Statistics was moved from Algebra 2 into the “math plus” standards.
Money – Standards were added in grades 1-4 to help students learn about coins, dollars, and their values.
Time – Time was refined in grades 1-4 to help students understand how to tell time on analog and digital clocks.
Fluency is Further Defined – Fluency means that, on a regular basis, students can choose the method to solve a problem, describe their approach, and find the right answer. This concept was better defined throughout all of the math standards.
The 8 Mathematical Practices were Clarified – In addition to defining the knowledge and skills students need to learn in each grade, the math standards also include eight mathematical practices, which describe how students will use math skills in their daily lives to solve real-world problems. These practices help students develop critical thinking and analytical skills, whether it is understanding a claim presented in an online article, making an argument, or critique the reasoning of others. The revised standards describe these math practices in greater depth. You can find them on pages 4-6 in this document.
New Glossary – A new glossary was added to share common definitions of terms like problem solving, mathematical argument, standard deviation, and more.

English & Math
Examples Were Removed – Examples were deleted that could have been interpreted as curriculum, including the percentages of informational and literary texts. (Note: standards share WHAT students need to know and be able to do, while curriculum is HOW it is taught, including the textbooks and resources that teachers use. Curriculum is determined at the district and school level).

Read More About the Standards Here. TIP: Start by reading the Executive Summaries and the Introductions.

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