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Vol. 47, No. 42

June 18, 2013

K-12 and Higher Education Departments Plan for Future of Missouri Education
Collaboration focused on Common Core Standards and new assessments

Members of the State Board of Education (SBE) and Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE) attended a joint meeting Monday to discuss collaborative efforts and the future of Missouri education. The work study session included discussion around the Common Core State Standards and Smarter Balanced assessments.

"Although the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Department of Higher Education are two separate entities, there are a number of areas where our work intersects," said Commissioner of Education Chris L. Nicastro. "It's imperative that we have ongoing conversations so we can maximize our efforts to better serve the students of Missouri. We look forward to our continued partnership with the Department of Higher Education."

Similar to the SBE's aim of Missouri becoming one of the top 10 performing states in education by the year 2020, the CBHE has endorsed the goal to increase the proportion of Missourians with high-quality postsecondary credentials to 60 percent by 2025.

The adoption of the Common Core State Standards has emerged as a primary strategy for bridging the gap between high school, college and beyond. A set of academic expectations for English language arts and mathematics, the Common Core Standards are part of the Missouri Learning Standards, which define the knowledge and skills students need to succeed in college, other postsecondary training and careers.

Many higher education institution presidents and chancellors have strongly supported the Common Core Standards, noting the necessity to better prepare students to be college- and career-ready when graduating from high school. The ability to compete in a global, knowledge-based economy is also a critical component of the standards.

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is working to develop a comprehensive and innovative assessment system for grades 3-8 and high school, which align to the Common Core Standards and have the capability to measure the level of student proficiency in mastering the standards. The new assessments will roll-out during the 2014-2015 school year.

As part of the meeting discussion, it was also noted that the Common Core Standards have the potential to reduce the remediation rate, improve college degree completion and reduce the costs of obtaining a college degree.

Additionally, a joint Missouri Learning Standards website is being developed to provide information to students, parents and educators about all state standards. Until the new website is launched, current information can be found at missourilearningstandards.com.