Students in kindergarten through sixth grade will see new state testing standards in their math classes when they return to school this fall.
The Laguna Beach Unified School District board on Tuesday approved new Common Core standards for students at Top of the World and El Morro elementary and Thurston Middle schools.
This is the first phase of a two-year plan to integrate the testing standards into math classes. Students in seventh and eighth grades and high school will see new testing standards in the 2014-15 school year, a district staff report said.
The new standards will go beyond multiple-choice exams and focus on analytical and problem-solving skills, asking students to write short responses, according to a power point presentation on Common Core available on the district's website.
"They're a lot more application-based," said Stacy Quirarte, an algebra and geometry teacher at Thurston.
A sample math problem could ask a student to place individual bottles, each weighing 3 5/8 pounds, into bags labeled 6 to 7 pounds, 10 to 11 pounds, and 14 to 15 pounds.
Slowing down and mastering the basic skills at an early age are crucial steps, Deni Christensen, outgoing assistant superintendent of instructional services, said at the school board meeting.
"Many students accelerate too quickly," Christensen said. "It's far better to master content at the lower grade levels. It's not just where you finish — it's the GPA [grade point average]."
Since 2010, 45 states including California have adopted the English and math standards, which are designed to prepare students for college and the work force, the California Department of Education website said.