State Student Achievement Standards Not Ready Official Says More Time Needed for Rewrite That Is Understandable

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It's taking longer than expected to rewrite proposed state standards for measuring student achievement to make them understandable to the average Missourian.

So the state's education chief asked Thursday for more time to work on the standards, which have been sharply criticized as too vague and lacking emphasis on academic achievement.

"We need to have more understandable language," Education Commissioner Bob Bartman told the state Board of Education.

Board member Tom Davis agreed. A contractor, he said: "I want them to put it in plain English so a contractor can understand it. I'm worried about the words communicating what is there."

The first version of the standards devised by a working group of teachers with help from consultants was met with shaking heads at an April meeting of the Commission on Performance, the panel that is to consider the final product.

The panel told crafters of the standards to report back this month after a massive rewrite.

But Bartman told the Board of Education that he wanted to cancel the commission's July 26 meeting because the rewrite wasn't ready, and more time is needed. He said the proposed standards should be ready in August.

"The target is to have the standards approved in a preliminary form and ready to take to the people in the fall," Bartman said in an interview.

He wants to hold public meetings on the proposed standards around the state in late September or October, with hopes of having them ready for the 1997-98 school year.

"It is a bit of a delay, but I think we will have a much better package than what was delivered in April," Bartman said. …