Setting the Standards

The 21-member California Academic Standards Commission last week issued recommendations for what the state’s 5.5 million public school students should know in reading, writing, math and other subjects. The standards, which still must be approved by the State Board of Education, will be voluntary. But they are expected to guide education from kindergarten through grade 12 statewide, in part because they will serve as the basis for new standardized tests pushed by Gov. Pete Wilson.

The standards are supposed to be measurable, to ensure that those who meet them can compete with students around the world, and to produce valuable employees, good citizens and lifelong learners. Some excerpts:

Reading and Writing

* Kindergarten: Understand that as letters of words change, so do the sounds.


* Grade 1: Read common words (the, have, said, come, give, of).

* Grade 2: Recognize common abbreviations, such as Jan., Sun. and St.

* Grade 4: In addition to their regular school reading, students should be reading half a million words annually, including classic and contemporary literature as well as magazines and newspapers.

* Grade 7: Use knowledge of Greek, Anglo-Saxon and Latin roots to understand vocabulary.

* Grade 8: Write outlines that include an introduction, transitions, previews and summaries, a logically developed body and a conclusion.

* Grades 9-10: Determine a character’s traits from what he or she says about himself or herself.

* Grades 11-12: Deliver multimedia presentations that combine text, images and sound from a wide range of materials including television, videos, films, newspapers, CD ROMs, the Internet and computer-generated images.



* Kindergarten: Count, recognize, represent, name and order numbers through 30 using objects.

* Grade 1: Build up the basic addition facts (sums to 20) and the corresponding subtraction facts, recognize the relationship between the two operations and commit addition facts to memory.

* Grade 2: Use counting by 2s to explain the concept of even and odd numbers.

* Grade 3: Sample task: Suppose you go to a store where there is this price list: pen sets, $3; magnets, $4; sticker sets, $6. How much would it cost to buy five pen sets, seven magnets and seven sticker sets?


* Grade 6: Use experimental or actual data to estimate the probability of events, such as with batting averages or the number of accidents per mile driven.

* Grade 7: Learn and verify what the Pythagorean theorem is and how and when it is used.

* Grade 8: Sample task: Danielle wants to buy a $279 bicycle on lay-away. She plans to make a down payment of $135 and pay the rest in six equal monthly installments. How much will she have to pay each month?

* Grades 9-10: Know and use formulas for problems involving the perimeter, circumference and area of common geometric figures.


The complete standards documents can be viewed on the Internet beginning Thursday at: