State board passes new academic standards


COLUMBUS – The 19-member state Board of Education voted 18-0 (one board member absent) to adopt new academic content standards for science and social studies.

There was an amendment made to a life science indicator and benchmark. The amendment states, “that the benchmark/indicator does not mandate the teaching or testing of intelligent design.”

Benchmarks are used to measure student progress toward meeting the standard and define what a student should know and be able to do by the end of grade-level bands (e.g. K-2).

Grade-level indicators serve as specific statements of knowledge and/or skills for students at each grade level. These indicators serve as checkpoints that monitor progress toward the benchmarks.

The adoption ends a year-long process of writing new academic content standards for science and social studies. Work on the new standards began with the selection of an advisory committee of Ohio leaders in the fields of science and social studies.

These two committees made preliminary decisions that guided two teams charged with writing the standards. The 41-member writing team chosen to write Ohio’s new science standards included 27 Ohio teachers, six higher education professionals, three curriculum specialists and five persons representing parents, businesses, or the community.

The 33-member social studies writing team included 15 Ohio teachers, 10 higher education professionals, three curriculum specialists and five parents, businesses or community members.

As with the English language arts and mathematics standards, adopted by the state board in December 2001, public engagement played a critical role in the process of developing Ohio’s new standards for science and social studies.

During the first and second rounds of public engagement for the science standards, the Ohio Department of Education held 95 focus groups throughout Ohio. ODE’s Web site received 22,000 hits as well as 10,000 letters and e-mails total.

Susan Tave Zelman, superintendent of public instruction, praised the state Board of Education for its hard work on the science and social studies standards.

In addition to the adoption of the standards, the state board also approved the hiring of Daniel L. Wilson to replace David Varda as associate superintendent for the Center for School Finance.

Wilson will join the department when Varda leaves ODE to become the state’s chief deputy auditor as State Auditor Betty Montgomery takes office on Jan. 13, 2003.


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