April 12, 2013
Tougher state tests mean fewer students expected to meet or exceed grade-level expectations this year, but that is not a bad thing
Parents and teachers should be prepared to see lower test scores on grades 3-8 state assessments in math and English language arts this year as the tests are redesigned to reflect Common Core Learning Standards.
A memo from State Education Deputy Commissioner Ken Slentz says the drop in scores is expected due to the higher performance standards reflected in the tests.
“The change in the statewide number of students meeting or exceeding grade-level Common Core expectations is necessary if we are to be transparent and honest about what our students know and can do as they progress toward college and career readiness,” Slentz said in the memo. He explained that the new test scores would not be directly comparable to previous years because the focus of the material has shifted to “more rigorous standards.”
Common Core Standards & the ELA Grade 3-8 state tests
Don't blame students or teachers for lower scores
SED cautions parents and teachers that the drop in the number of students meeting or exceeding grade-level expectations should not be interpreted as a failure on the part of the student to learn or the teacher to teach.
Instead, Slentz hopes that the results of the new assessments “will give educators, parents, policymakers and the public a more realistic picture of where students are on their path to being well prepared for the world that awaits them after they graduate from high school.”
Parent involvement is important to the success of Common Core
Area school principals and teachers hope parents take the time to understand how their child’s homework reflects the shifts in learning priorities and teaching methods using the Common Core.
The standards lay out a step-by-step progression of skills in five key areas that students learn as they go from grade to grade: reading, writing, speaking and listening, language and mathematics. Instruction in each grade builds upon the skills learned in the previous grade.
According to engageny.org, the state’s online resource for all elements of the Race to the Top initiative, Common Core is a “road map” to help teachers prepare the best classroom lessons and activities, and to help students and parents understand what it takes to be successful in each grade level.
Parents, guardians and families can find a wealth of resources that help them understand and engage in the “demands and opportunities of the Common Core” with the Common Core Toolkit for Parents and Families, available at engageny.org.
Annual Professional Performance Review Plan [PDF] *Updated on 1/17/13