Online guide shows Arizona parents milestones expected at each grade level - East Valley Tribune: Arizona

Online guide shows Arizona parents milestones expected at each grade level

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Posted: Tuesday, January 31, 2012 12:06 pm

By the end of first grade, children should be able to count to 120 by ones, twos, fives and 10s. They should be able to name the characters of a story and describe the topic and main events.

A fourth-grader should be able to use the root, prefix and suffix of a word to discover its meaning. A seventh-grader should be able to determine surface area and volume problems.

Arizona parents who want to know what academic milestones their children should be reaching at their grade levels can now find an easy chart at Expect More Arizona.

Expect More Arizona's new focus to get parents involved in their children's education prompted the creation of "academic success materials," now available on its website, said Donna Davis, outreach and mobilization coordinator.

"We're a small organization, but we did a lot of research and looked at school districts and organizations involved in parental engagement and tried to pull the best of the best," Davis said.

Arizona students are going to be expected to know more in the next few years. The state is one of many that have adopted the Common Core Standards - nationally aligned measures of what children should know at each grade level. Many school districts put the kindergarten standards into place this year as the program began, with additional grades being added during the 2012-13 school years and the 2013-2014 school years in preparation for a new national assessment.

Expect More Arizona's list follows those Common Core Standards and offers parents suggestions on what they can work on at home.

"That seemed to be a huge question from parents: I know I need to be involved, but I don't know exactly what I should do," Davis said. "Probably the biggest impact would be for them to be involved and to become a partner with their child's teacher to check on their child's academic achievement."

That's exactly what can be done at home with this information. Parents - and grandparents - can look at it, ask the child questions based on the information, and then ask the teachers whether or not the child is meeting the marks.

"We want them to have productive relationships with their teachers, a partnership, she said.

Expect More Arizona's focus aligns with a study released last fall surrounding the topic of parent involvement. One conclusion by the group was that when parents work in partnership with the teachers, there is a measurable impact on student achievement.

The Center for Public Education analyzed 51 previous surveys and studies that explored parent involvement. There was one strong conclusion: "Students of involved parents were more likely to receive higher grades and test scores and were more likely to enroll in higher programs in high school ... they have better attendance and are more likely to graduate from high school and attend college."

For the next several years, Expect More Arizona plans to keep the focus on parents and how they play an important role in their children's schooling.

"All the data indicates parents are huge contributors to their child's success," Davis said. "We have got to have more students going on to postsecondary education in this state. We are woefully behind in that category. In order to encourage good economic development in this state, we need to have a quality workforce.

"We need to have a culture here in Arizona that understands high school is not the end of the line. Students have got to go on."

And that needs to start with families, Davis said.

"We need parents who say academic achievement is paramount to success and your job as a student is to do the best you can do. And if you're having issues, it's my role as a parent to get the resources you need."

The academic milestones are divided up by grade level on the Expect More Arizona's website. Look for "academic success materials for parents" at expectmorearizona.org.

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