Q. I heard that CCSS are applied differently to students based on sub-groups. Why do we have “sub-groups based standards?”
A. We have no sub-groups based standards. Under a flexibility request for waivers from the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, approved in 2012, the MDE has set expectations based upon students’ current performance levels, while still expecting all students to meet proficiency. Achievement gaps exist among students in Mississippi as well as nationally. This has no relation to Common Core State Standards.
The annual measurable objectives (AMOs) in the flexibility request outline a six-year plan to cut the achievement gaps in half for all subgroups of students, which includes English-language learners and special education students.
Consider this analogy. Students from Brandon, McComb, and Corinth are all traveling to a conference in Jackson. Each student group has two days to arrive at the meeting. The students from Brandon must travel 5 miles each day to arrive, while the students from McComb must travel 40 miles each day, and the students from Corinth must travel 120 miles each day.
The AMO table in the flexibility request simply provides a snapshot of the projected student progress academically, given each group's starting location. Again, the ultimate destination is arrival at proficiency (or arrival in Jackson), but the incremental steps are different for each group of students, just like the daily distances traveled are different for each group of students in the analogy.