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Setting Standards

September 29, 1997

The California Academic Standards Commission has 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 K-12 education 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:


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 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/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 basic addition facts (sums to 20) and corresponding subtraction facts, recognize the relationship between 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 real-world 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, how and when it is used

Grade 8: Sample task: Danielle wants to buy a $279 bicycle on layaway. 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 perimeters, circumference and area of common geometric figures

Grades 11-12: Extract pertinent information from problem situations and figure out what additional information is needed; formulate reasonable mathematical hypotheses based on a general description of a situation

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

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