The New York State Education Department has released its draft standards. The New York State School Boards Association warned this summer that New Yorkers could end up with standards that closely resemble the Common Core that the state is supposedly moving away from.
There were already plans in the works to use Common Core as the starting point for changes which is why they were able to release the draft standards so quickly. The question is how different will they be and will it mean an improvement?
Chalk Beat reports that more than half of the standards were changed in some way.
More than half of the standards, which specify what skills and knowledge students should be able to demonstrate in each grade, were changed. That could mean anything from wording tweaks to replacing a standard altogether, said State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia. Some of the most significant changes involve early-grade English standards and a clarified set of expectations for Algebra I and II.
These standards are only a draft, but they offer the first glimpse into what will likely become the basis for a New York state education.
“It isn’t just tinkering around the edges and doing small, little things,” Elia said. “We had a very dedicated committee that met multiple times… [to] make sure that while they were still rigorous standards, that they were more clearly defined for our teachers across the state.”
We’ll have to see.
Recommended changes for the ELA standards include to:
- Streamline Reading for Information and Reading for Literature Standards by merging them together, identifying the unique skills related to literature and informational text, and ensuring a healthy balance of both types of reading across all grades;
- Refocus on Prekindergarten-Grade 2 Standards with some grade-specific changes and additions to the ELA Standards, including a strong emphasis on the whole child and the importance of play as an instructional strategy. This includes the need for additional guidance for P-2 on how the standards are implemented in the classroom, including sample instructional strategies and activities, definitions and clear connections to teaching English language learners and students with disabilities;
- Create a New York State Early Learning Task Force to discuss concerns around the P-2 grades, including standards, program decisions, social emotional needs and how the content areas/domains work together in the early grades. This task force will be formed in the coming weeks;
- Re-organize Writing Standards so they are easier for educators to use for curriculum and instruction. In addition to regrouping the standards, grade-specific changes are recommended across the grades to clarify language and ensure writing expectations are clear;
- Use a Variety of Texts to balance literary and informational reading with clear guidance for teachers and to ensure students read both full-length texts and shorter pieces, as well as to encourage reading for pleasure; and
- Provide Guidance on Text Complexity for all standards in the introduction to underscore its importance.
You can review and comment on the draft ELA standards here.
Recommended changes for the math standards include to:
- Clarify the Standards so that educators, students and parents clearly understand the expectation, without limiting instructional flexibility. For example, recommended modifications would help better define the progression of skills and the transition of some of the 18 shared standards between Algebra I and Algebra II;
- Strengthen Coherency of the Standards to allow for a stronger connection of learning within and across grade levels. For example, one additional standard at the Kindergarten level would help solidify pattern recognition and creation from Pre-K to Grade 2. In addition, standards regarding time and money would be added and current standards would be changed to smooth the transition of building these skills at the PreK-grade 3 level;
- Improve focus of major content and skills for each grade-level and course while providing more time for students to develop deep levels of understanding. For example, to remove the parabola/directrix/focus standard out of Algebra II and place it in the plus standards with the study of conics;
- Maintain the Rigor of the Standards by balancing the need for conceptual understanding, procedural skill and application. For example, clearly identify the fluency standards at the high school level; and
- Create a Glossary of Verbs associated with the mathematics standards. This glossary contains a list of verbs that appear throughout the revised standards recommendations.
You can review and comment on the draft math standards here.