Feedback is now being accepted for the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards (MCCRS) for Science through an online public comment forum.
The forum will be open Jan. 20-Feb. 24 and is designed to encourage stakeholders to read the standards and either submit comments in support of the standards or provide specific, actionable feedback on any particular standards of concern. The public comment venue is similar to the one used during the review of the MCCRS for English language arts and Mathematics in 2015.
“These will be Mississippi standards developed by Mississippi teachers,” said Dr. Kim Benton, chief academic officer at the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). “The MDE has been working with a team of 47 Mississippi science educators in K-12 from across the state and the Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University for more than a year to update the standards.”
Mississippi last revised its science standards in 2010. The Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a nonprofit education policy think tank, rated Mississippi’s current science standards a “C”. Teachers reviewed the “A” rated standards from other states to inform the revisions process for the new science standards. The states used to inform the process were South Carolina, Alabama, Virginia and Massachusetts.
“We want to make sure that our students have the benefit of high standards in science, particularly in light of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and biomedical careers on the rise,” said Jean Massey, director of secondary education.
Comments provided about specific standards will be evaluated by a team of Mississippi educators, content specialists in Science, as well as higher education representatives. Upon completion of the review process, the MDE will bring the final proposed standards to the SBE for its consideration in March. The new science standards will be piloted in the 2017-18 school year following several teacher trainings around the state. Full implementation of the new science standards will be August 2018.
The MDE has hired two science specialists who are working across the state with teachers to finalize the new science standards. The new science standards take a hands-on approach to classroom learning, with a focus on instruction that is student-guided and project-based. The MDE will provide comprehensive guidelines and resources to teachers as they introduce the standards in their classrooms.
“Mississippi has made significant strides in lifting academic achievement in the state through a focus on literacy and higher standards of learning. The revised science standards will provide another opportunity for our students to excel and to equip them to fulfill their goals for college and career,” said Dr. Carey Wright, state superintendent of education.
How the online public comment forum works:
Participants are required to provide some general information on whether they are commenting as parents, educators or business and industry professionals. This demographic information is important to informing the SBE and the public about which stakeholders participated in the forum. No personally identifiable information will be requested. However, there is an option to leave email addresses for further contact.
Standards are searchable by grade level. After reading the grade-level standard, the participant will be provided several options for input, including whether he/she likes the standard or doesn’t like the standard. If someone wishes to change the actual wording of the standard, he/she will have that option in an editable textbox prepopulated with the standard as it is currently written, or they may clear the standard and write the standard from scratch.
The public may leave and come back to the forum at any time between Jan. 20 and Feb. 24, 2017, but participants will only be able to submit suggestions on a particular standard once per electronic device. At the end of the public comment period, all comments will be published online.