Since becoming Commissioner last summer, I have traveled more than 20,000 miles across New York State to meet with teachers, administrators, parents, students, school board members, and community groups. While on those trips, I have heard a lot of concerns from a lot of New Yorkers.
It's no surprise that much of what I heard was related to the Grade 3-8 English Language Arts and Math Tests. I heard parents didn't want them used in teacher evaluations. I heard they were too long. I heard there weren't enough New York State teachers involved. I heard parents and teachers question if the tests held any value at all. I know the Grades 3 through 8 English Language Arts and Math Tests aren't perfect.
I know past tests had issues. And I know it might be premature to use our assessments for teacher evaluations before the assessments have been tuned up.
So, we hired a new company to help us develop future assessments. We brought teachers from across the State to Albany to review every reading passage, word problem, and multiple-choice question on this spring's tests to make sure they're fair. In all, every item has been reviewed by at least 22 educators. Going forward, we'll bring even more teachers into the process.
We reduced the number of test questions and alleviated time pressure for test takers. Students who are productively working will be able to demonstrate what they know and are able to do, even if it takes more time. We're interested in what students know, not how fast they can go.
At its meeting in February, the Board of Regents discussed a new proposed process and timeline for development and implementation of new ELA and Math standards, curriculum, and assessments. You will find more details about the proposal below.
The Department is creating two review committees, one for ELA and one for math, to help develop our new standards. The committees will be made up of teachers, parents, administrators, and other stakeholders. In the coming weeks, interested educators will be able to submit an online application with a letter of recommendation and resume in order to be considered for a committee spot. Updates will be available soon on
. We hope you will consider applying!