by Kaitlyn Shepherd
Policy Analyst for the Center for Effective Education, John Locke Foundation
Earlier this week, I described some of the changes that were incorporated into the second draft of the proposed content standards for Healthful Living, which covers both Physical Education and Health/Sex Ed.
The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has released two surveys through which North Carolinians can comment on the Physical Education and Health portions of Draft 2 of the standards.
What follows is some basic information for anyone interested in submitting survey responses.
DPI seeks feedback from “educators, administrators, parents, students, institutions of higher education, business/industry representatives, national organizations, and other education agencies.” Other members of the community are also invited to complete the survey.
As I’ve written previously, “Content standards represent ‘what students should know and be able to do’ after completing each grade level or course.” They provide a big-picture outline of the content and skills that all teachers should cover in several content areas, such as Science, Social Studies, World Languages, and English Language Arts. The Healthful Living standards outline content for Physical Education and Health/Sex Ed.
Having strong content standards is important because they determine the general content and skills to be covered for each course and grade level, affect which textbooks and instructional methods are adopted, and influence the trainings and professional development opportunities offered to teachers.
North Carolina law (G.S. §115C-12(9c)) requires content standards to be “rigorous, specific, sequenced, clear, focused, and measurable.” In addition, high school–level standards must “include the knowledge and skills necessary to pursue further postsecondary education or to attain employment in the 21st century economy” and “be aligned with the minimum undergraduate course requirements for admission to the constituent institutions of The University of North Carolina.”
For more on what these statutory requirements mean and how to analyze academic content standards, I commend to you my former colleague Terry Stoops’ brief on the topic.
DPI provides updates on which sets of standards are going through the review and revision process. Links to the surveys for the Physical Education standards and the Health standards can be found here and here, respectively.
Having strong content standards is important for several reasons. Standards determine the general content and skills to be covered for each course and grade level, which means that they also affect which textbooks and instructional methods are adopted by districts throughout the state. Districts must use textbooks and develop curricula that align with the content and skills prescribed by the standards.
Content standards also influence the trainings and professional development opportunities offered to teachers and the assessments that are developed by testing companies and taken by students.
The surveys for both the Health and Physical Education standards are set to close on Jan. 14, 2024.
Unlike the survey on the first draft of the standards, which allowed respondents to comment on each objective, the survey on the second draft of the standards is much simpler. After completing some basic biographical questions, respondents may answer 10 questions covering whether the standards as a whole meet the statutory criteria for content standards, including rigor, measurability, and clarity.
To comment on or suggest revisions to a particular standard or objective, respondents may include their feedback in the open-ended question at the end of the survey.
For other articles covering the process of revising North Carolina’s Healthful Living standards, see the following: