Monday, March 18, 2013

NY State Tests Will Be Harder

Next month, students across New York will take tests that have never been administered in New York. They are based on the national Common Core standards, which have been adopted by 46 states.
The math and English tests, which will be administered to students in grades 3-8, are much harder. State officials are predicting scores will drop.
“I don’t want to think that way,” said James Palermo, principal of School #2 in Rochester. “I want to believe we’re going to do our best on this test and we’re going to see an increase. That’s what I want.”
Since this is the first year New York’s teachers have used Common Core, some think it’s unfair students will be tested – and their teachers evaluated – based on the standards.
School #2’s teachers admit it was a challenge at the beginning of the school year to learn about the model and explain it to students. But they say it’s getting easier and they are warming up to Common Core and their students are rising to the expectations. The school has provided professional development opportunities.
“The text is becoming more difficult. The vocabulary is becoming more difficult,” said teacher Lynne Fox. “It’s very daunting but (students) took on the challenge.”
“It takes a lot of fluffy stuff out and it really gives you time to focus on the important content and skills that our students need,” said teacher Rachael Feltman.
Common Core requires more critical thinking skills and students have to answer in-depth questions. Students have to explain their answers, even on math questions.
“It’s definitely raised the expectation for students,” said Palermo. “We have first graders talking about neurology.”
“Hopefully, they’re up for the challenge and we’re hoping that it goes well,” said Fox.