Parent-teacher conferences are underway in the Sioux Falls school District. This is the first time conferences are being held under the new Common Core standards.
As a parent, asking the right questions could give you the tools to help your child succeed.
The new Common Core standards are raising questions across the state. And talking to a teacher one-on-one will help ease some parents' worries.
"The good question for parents to be asking is, 'What can we expect going forward?' And also be able to talk with the teachers about what they're seeing at home regarding their child's homework and some of their child's assignments that might be different than they were in the past," education consultant Rick Melmer said.
In addition to the new curriculum, schools are also implementing a numerical grading system. Another big change for students is how they're graded on tests. The new standards put more emphasis on showing work, rather than just giving a correct answer.
"Teachers will be able to give you some good examples of things you can do at home as a parent that would help your child not only understand how they arrived at their answer, but rather how to explain it in a sentence or two," Melmer said.
Beginning this Spring, Smarter Balanced tests will take the place of the old Dakota STEP tests. Students in grades 3rd through 8th and 11th will take the exams.
Melmer advises parents to go online now and try the sample tests to help prepare their kids for what's to come.
"I would hope that parents would be able to go online, and they can, to the Smarter Balanced website and take some of the practice test items that fit their child's grade level and content area. That would be very enlightening for parents to do. And I think many districts across the state are going to encourage parents to do that," Melmer said.
You can take the Smarter Balanced sample test on their website.