Wednesday, September 28, 2016

State education commissioner talks opt-outs, revised Common Core standards | poststar.

State education commissioner talks opt-outs, revised Common Core standards | Local | poststar.com:

State education commissioner talks opt-outs, revised Common Core standards


SARATOGA SPRINGS — State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia told superintendents Tuesday that everyone needs to do a better job communicating the changes to the state tests to decrease the number of student opt-outs and move forward with rewriting its standards.
The tests, which are required in English and math for students in grades three through eight, were shortened this year and students were given unlimited time.
She said the fact that the percentage of parents opting out their children from taking the test held steady at 20 percent this year is a positive — despite all rhetoric and misinformation.
“If we hadn’t done some of the things we’ve done, we may have been in worse shape,” she said during the closing keynote address of the New York State Council of School Superintendents Fall Leadership Summit. The event was held at The Hilton in Saratoga Springs.
Teachers also had more input into the development of the tests, according to Elia.
“We asked teachers to come in and review every question that was on the assessments. If they didn’t like them, they were pulled out,” she said.
In addition, the state in June released 75 percent of the test questions online, which allows teachers to review them and talk with their colleagues about what material was missed by students.
The state also put a moratorium on using student performance on the tests in grading teachers. She said she understands the frustration. The tests scores accounted for a certain percentage of the teacher evaluation and then it more than doubled. At the same time, the standards changed.
“We were doing things at such a fast pace relative to standards, curriculum and assessments that people just couldn’t handle it anymore,” she said.
It is important to communicate the changes that have been made. Elia cited an incident when she State education commissioner talks opt-outs, revised Common Core standards | Local | poststar.com:


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