Students will soon be held to a higher standard as the state moves toward a different method of teaching, known as "common core," expected to challenge students and develop critical-thinking skills, according to school administrators.
"It is a rigorous increase in difficulty for students," said Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick. "It's going to be a huge paradigm shift for teachers."
The common core method of teaching was developed in conjunction with more than 100 businesses, aiming to teach children high critical-thinking skills, according to Wyrosdick. The intent is to supplement children and young adults with the skills necessary to become more competitive in the global market.
Wyrosdick said common core will change the methodology across the state, requiring teachers to evaluate how they teach. The technique has been around for a while, and is gaining support across the nation. He says the best teachers already utilize the aspects found in common core.
This year, common core has been fully implemented in grades K-2. Next school year, all Santa Rosa County students are expected to be learning under the new set of standards. Though, the superintendent said he expects the actual transition to a new teaching method lasting somewhat longer.
"I believe this transition will last five to seven or eight years," Wyrosdick said. "We're asking teachers to make a huge transition. I empathize with teachers that have been very successful."
The school board has been exploring the common core over the past three years, in preparation for the impending change. Testing standards have evolved over the years, from the sunshine state standards, to FCAT 2.0 to next generation state standards.
The new method of teaching is a movement away from one-word answers such as "yes or no" and "true/false," said Bill Emerson, assistant superintendent for instructional services.
"Students will learn how to problem solve, not just regurgitate fact," Emerson said. "There's emphasis on persuasive speech and the common core is big on linking self-discovery."
Emerson said the common core method is a total shift in the way schools have been teaching. Students will play a larger role in their learning and synthesis of information. Under the new standards, students will be more active in discussion and explanation of their answers and how they reached their conclusions on any given subject.
"It's going to require planning," Emerson said. "It's going to require teachers to relinquish some control."