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News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,
We realize many of you are receiving this edition of News and Notes during your spring break. We will send this edition again next week for those who miss it today.

Last week, after a great introduction by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, I gave a speech in New York City about New York's national leadership in raising standards for teaching and learning. I also announced three new initiatives to further support the state's continued transition to the Common Core Learning Standards.

School Leaders and teachers react to the speeches by Secretary Duncan and Commissioner King at New York University on April 10.
John B. King, Jr.
Follow me on Twitter @JohnKingNYSED
New York Perspectives
Education Week
April 10, 2014
Developed by Stanford University, the edTPA serves as a way to allow candidates to demonstrate their readiness to enter a classroom and to become the teacher of record in New York State. In this EdWeek article, leaders from the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the National Association of Elementary School Principals, the School Superintendents Association, and the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education support the approach.

EngagedVoices: Helping Our Students Progress and Succeed
This week's post from our EngagedVoices educator blog features Mark Fish, Principal of Oliver W. Winch Middle School in South Glens Falls School District. When it comes to Common Core assessments, Mark's message to students is simple: "Do your best!"
I have spent a great deal of time the last couple of weeks talking to students and parents about the latest round of state assessments. The new, more rigorous and challenging Common Core assessments have really created quite a stir. My message has been a simple one for students: Do your best! It has been the same message I have delivered in all of the years of the New York State assessment program. I have also shared that the assessments are rightfully more rigorous, but they match the changes that are occurring in our classrooms.
Common Core Assessment Design
With the transition to the New York State P-12 Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS), significant changes have been made to the New York State Testing Program (NYSTP). To guide item (test question) development and to help ensure that NYS tests are measuring the CCLS for Mathematics and ELA with fidelity, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has developed Item Review Criteria for ELA and mathematics and additional guidance resources. Draft questions that meet these criteria are allowed to move forward in the development process. The next step is for the items to be reviewed, and when necessary, edited, by a Committee of certified New York State educators. The educator panel evaluates each question for fairness, valid measurement of the intended standard(s), and language clarity. Only items that are approved by the educator panel are allowed to be field-tested.

In order to ensure the development of high quality tests that measure the CCSS, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) employed a rigorous process to select and review passages for use on the Grades 3-8 Common Core ELA Tests. This process is grounded in a documented set of passage selection guidelines and passage selection review criteria.

In summer 2013, New York State released a representative sample - 25 percent - of questions used on the 2013 state tests. These questions, available in every grade (3-8) for both ELA and Mathematics, have been annotated to display the kinds of thinking students are required to do in the new Common Core Tests.

The resources listed below, while intended for use by assessment developers and reviewers, can also be used as a resource along with the standards themselves, optional curriculum materials, and video from classrooms around the state to inform Common Core instruction and formative/interim assessment.
  1. New York State Item Review Criteria for Grade 3-8 Mathematics Tests
  2. New York State Item Review Criteria for Grade 3-8 English Language Arts Tests
  3. Multiple Representations for NYS Grade 3-8 Common Core Mathematics Tests
  4. New York State Passage Selection Resources for Grade 3-8 Assessments
  5. Selection of Authentic Texts for Common Core Instruction: Guidance and a List of Resources for Text Selection
  6. Annotated 2013 3-8 ELA and Mathematics State Test Questions