Monday, February 10, 2014

New York just backed away from standardized testing, PARCC, and Common Core

...big time.
In a press release issued today, the New York state Board of Regents (their Board of Ed) announced that their full board has adopted several of changes recommended by a working group dealing with the Common Core and new testing regime. Most notably: 
  • "The class of 2022 will be the first to face the new higher graduation requirements, 12 years after the adoption of the standards in 2010."
  • ... guidance will be issued to districts making clear that the State Education Department (SED) neither requires nor encourages districts to make promotion or placement decisions using student performance on state assessments in grades 3-8, but if districts choose to do so, they should make adjustments to ensure students are not negatively impacted by the Common Core transition and should use multiple measures - not grades 3-8 state assessment results alone."
  • "...the Board and SED will support reducing standardized testing by local school districts through "Teaching is the Core" grants that require districts to review their local assessments and eliminate any unnecessary or duplicative assessments"
  • "...New York's participation in the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) will be limited to field testing only during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school years"
  • " emergency regulation to protect teachers and principals from unfair termination based on 2012-13 and 2013-14 assessment results in districts that did not timely implement the Common Core by providing adequate professional development, guidance on curriculum, or other necessary supports"
  • "... the State has delayed the launch of the data dashboards related to inBloom to allow SED to work with legislators to address concerns about data security and third party providers used by the State and districts."
  • "...As part of the waiver renewal, SED will ask USDOE to allow students with severe disabilities who are not eligible for alternate assessments to be tested at their instructional level rather than their chronological age level, and allow English Language Learners to be tested in their native language for their first two years of assessments"
All of the above taken directly from the press release. 
Somewhat confused by the parental reaction quoted here; I see some real changes above. 
This is a massive change of tune from the Board of Regents, the group that last year was touting the high rate of student failures as evidence that changes were overdue (rather than too fast). They've essentially turned last year back into a tryout year, admitted that they screwed up last year, postponed implementation of new requirements for graduation, added TWO years of piloting PARCC (that's one more than Massachusetts!), acknowledged that there's too much testing (and put money behind it), pushed off inBloom, and are switching their federal waiver.
That's massive.

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