Even though the Common Core Standards are coming into effect, ACI Institute has been long prepared.
As you are probably aware, the state of California has recently decided to end STAR testing and adopt the Common Core Standards which are being implemented nationwide. Whenever such a curriculum change occurs, we begin investigating the coming changes and reviewing our material to make sure it is compatible with the needs of our students.
In general, the Common Core Standards (CCS) promises a renewed emphasis on the analytical skills required for advanced comprehension in essential math and reading skills. The approach to teaching math will include a stronger emphasis on making sure students know the steps needed to answer a question. However, the biggest curriculum change will be a greater focus on reading, even in students’ science and social studies classes. In general, a large part of the CCS is this broad-based emphasis on reading comprehension. The two “pillars” of the CCS’s reading initiative can be summed up as “text-dependent questions” and “text complexity.” Rather than asking for students’ personal opinions in responses to texts, CCS-based material will focus more on a students’ analytical skills, their ability to find answers directly from the content of a reading passage. Likewise, writing will require students to draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
In reviewing our material here at ACI Institute, we have discovered that our fundamental focus is very close to the new core curriculum standards. We have discovered two key elements of our material. First, because our material has always been designed to prepare students for the PSAT and SAT tests, even from an early grade level, the majority of our reading passages use text-dependent questions, just as the real SAT does. Second, since our goal has always been to challenge our students, the texts we use are typically one or two grade levels higher than that of the average student in each class. In addition our teachers are also being instructed to place greater emphasis on the analysis of reading passages, from the sentence and paragraph level up to the larger meanings.
Since the announcement of the changes in the SAT test last year, we have been actively working to refine our materials to reflect the demands of the changes in the new SAT test beginning March 2016. Overall, we want to assure everyone that we are adequately prepared for the coming changes and are making every effort to ensure that our students, your children, have the best learning experience possible.
Sincerely, Diane Sartor Director, Curriculum Coordinator