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College and Career Readiness Standard discussions to continue

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(The Center Square) – Voting on a new College and Career Readiness Standard by the Maryland State Board of Education has been moved to the new year.

The board met Tuesday and was expected to take up the measure.

The new standard will be some type of assessment – a test, cumulative GPA, a grade in a particular course, a project, or some combination of these – administered by the end of 10th grade.

Meeting the standard is not part of college admissions criteria. Ultimately, it will be used to shape students’ academic pathways for the final two years of high school. School funding is expected to correlate with students meeting or exceeding it.

Stakes are high and many board members are reluctant to finalize the new standard for a variety of reasons.

Some fear that it won’t truly reflect the success that many students are capable of, a concern that has been raised repeatedly throughout the development of the proposed standard.

“I am concerned that … the thrust of this does not really take into account neurodiversity,” said Joan Mele-McCarthy, Calvert County board member and executive director of The Summit School.

“It’s a barrier, as far as I’m concerned.”

Others worry about adequately preparing students to meet the standard.

“When do we start preparing students to meet those CCR standards?” asked Irma Johnson, one of the board members representing Baltimore schools. “How do we make sure that by 10th grade, students are actually able to meet those standards?”

Still others mentioned apprehensions about communicating the standard and the required preparation to educators across the state, citing confusion among some teachers as to what the standard is used to measure.

The College and Career Readiness Standard is an integral part of the state’s newly inaugurated K-12 education platform, the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future. An interim CCR standard has been in place since February 2022, but it is used merely to benchmark student aptitudes and as a kind of test case; it does not have any bearing on students’ futures.

The board commissioned studies on the standard in 2022 and have been meeting to discuss what the longer-term standard might be. It’s uncertain when the vote will take place.

“We’re deliberating and our goal is to be able to come back in January with something that we can go forward on but recognizing that this is just the beginning,” said board President Clarence Crawford in summary. “As we go into it, we may conclude that there need to be legislative changes. We have to be as reasonable as we possibly can with our eyes wide open, recognizing that there may be a need to do course corrections down the road.”

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