SBE Conducts Audit Workshop for Math & Science Standards
Written by Caleb Nelson on December 16, 2022
As a starting point for a rigorous examination of the current K-12 standards, the Wyoming State Board of Education (SBE) recently convened critical stakeholders from across the state to conduct an audit in math and science content areas.
At its October meeting, the board approved a resolution to address the load of state standards. The number of state standards was a concern heard through Governor Mark Gordon’s Reimagining and Innovating the Delivery of Education (RIDE) Advisory Group and the SBE’s Profile of a Graduate (POG) listening sessions. In addition, stakeholders shared a desire for students to have more significant opportunities to apply academic learning to other subject areas and real-world experiences.
The SBE resolution states, “We further resolve to conduct this work through an audit of the performance standards currently adopted by the State and using the work of local districts who have identified priority standards.” The audit of state performance and local priority standards will include a completion of checks for “vertical and horizontal alignment of standards.”
In POG listening sessions conducted by the SBE, stakeholders consistently stated that while students may be learning and testing on a set of complex knowledge and skills, it may not always translate into an ability to transition into a world of independent living, a college setting, or the workplace. Therefore, the profile calls for communities, schools, businesses, and industry to collaborate in providing opportunities to apply learning in preparation for life after graduation.
Wyoming currently has “1,877” K-12 content standards across ten content areas. This often creates a need for teachers and schools to determine which standards they have time to teach to mastery adequately. A variance in the standards prioritized by districts also raises concerns regarding the constitutionally protected right to a uniform education system across the state. Through prioritization and focusing on the state standards, the board seeks to create time for innovation and opportunities for meaningful learning, both within and outside the classroom.
The math and science standards audit will inform the SBE Standards Committee in making recommendations to the board while ensuring academic rigor is preserved. In addition, this will allow educators to delve more deeply into learning concepts and offer more opportunities for students to apply what they have learned in various environments and situations.
“As the chair of the state board, it was impressive to see the work of these educators as they conducted the audit of the math and science standards,” says Ryan Fuhrman. “The board is committed to honoring the voices of Wyoming stakeholders that were captured in our work to develop a Profile of a Graduate. We believe that by working to create a more focused, cohesive set of standards, we will provide better clarity and capacity for Wyoming educators to meet the needs of Wyoming students and Wyoming’s future alike.”
The work of the audit teams will be presented to the SBE and the Curriculum Directors’ Advisory Committee. In addition, the board will ensure multiple opportunities for public input as the work moves forward.