Governor outlines mission of Standards Review Panel

Gov. Gary R. Herbert outlined the mission of the Standards Review Panel today, as the group held its first meeting to review whether the state standards for mathematics and English language arts are properly preparing students for higher education.

During the panel’s opening meeting, the governor reiterated that the panel is not to provide a political review of the standards, nor is their charge to re-write the current standards.

There are six-specific questions outlined for the panel:

  1. Are the current Utah Mathematics and English language arts standards more rigorous than the previous standards?
  2. Are the standards based on best practices and/or sound research?
  3. Do the new standards have internal coherence and lead to a logical progression of proficiencies to meet the 12th grade, or secondary exit standards?
  4. Will the current Utah Mathematics and English Language Arts Standards, if implemented properly, adequately prepare students for postsecondary education and training programs? (In other words, will the adoption and effective implementation of such standards reduce the need for developmental/remedial programs and services in post-secondary education?)
  5. Do the 12th grade standards in English Language Arts and the Secondary Mathematics standards align with expectations for mathematics and English/language arts in: four-year postsecondary institutions; CTE programs; entry level employment opportunities? (In other words, do the standards prepare students to be college and career ready?)
  6. What are recommendations for improvement to the standards, responses to community concerns with specific standards, and modifications needed to strengthen the standards?

The governor has asked Dr. Rich Kendell and Utah Valley University President Matt Holland to co-chair the 24-member panel and help resolve the divisive questions about the rigor of Utah’s education standards.

“There are differing opinions about the state standards represented on the panel but I expect everyone to put their opinions aside to work as a group and take a close look at the standards themselves,” said the governor. “We have tremendous leadership on this panel and I’m sure the students of our state will be well served.”

“I was very encouraged by the first meeting of our panel,” said Dr. Kendell. “This is an excellent group of people. Our technical work groups are clearly experts who know what they are doing, and I’m looking forward to a thorough educational assessment of the standards.”

The panel consists of 10-member executive committee and two seven-member committees, one for each focus area. The group will work to craft a non-biased, academic review of the standards by comparing the current standards to previous standards. They will work to determine the appropriateness of the standards for Utah students and evaluate whether or not the standards will prepare students for college and careers. The sole focus of the review is the content of the standards themselves.

Because the governor does not set standards (the State Board of Education does) any recommendations for changes made by the panel will be passed on to the board.

The executive board members will meet as follows:

Thursday, November 6th 9:00 – 12:00 pm
Monday, December 8th 9:00 – 12:00 pm
Wednesday, January 7th 9:00 – 12:00 pm

The English language arts and mathematics subgroups will also be meeting to discuss their individual standards in-between each executive meeting.