C&I

Curriculum and Instruction

Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists for the Non-Tested Content Areas

In February 2005, the Board of Regents approved a three-model (Models A, B and C) strategy to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle Level Education.  To support school districts and their schools with middle grades, regardless of which model they seek approval to implement, the Department has developed the Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists.  These checklists of knowledge and skills assess the strengths and limitations of programs in the non-tested areas, to facilitate student achievement of the New York State Learning Standards


Introduction   

In February 2005, the Board of Regents approved a three-model (Models A, B and C) strategy to implement the Regents Policy Statement on Middle Level Education.  In May 2005, the Regents amended Commissioner’s Regulations to reflect the three model strategies.

A school that submits a Model B or Model C application must document alternative strategies which ensure that students receive instruction in all 28 of the New York State Learning Standards, including those in the non-tested* areas (Commissioner’s Regulation 100.1(t)).  Applicants may seek relief from time requirements, but middle level schools cannot eliminate instruction in any standards area. Examples of alternative ways to meet the New York State Learning Standards include integrating instruction with other standards areas, team teaching across subject areas, mini-courses, etc.

To support school districts and their schools with middle grades, regardless of which model they seek approval to implement, the Department has developed the Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists.  These checklists of knowledge and skills assess the strengths and limitations of programs in the non-tested areas to facilitate student achievement of the New York State Learning Standards.   

* A non-tested area is a content/program area that does not have a required State assessment(s).

How to Use the Checklists    

The Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists are tools to provide practical guidance to school districts.  Administrators and instructional staff should use the checklists to assess their instructional programs to determine areas of strength and alignment with the appropriate State learning standards and to identify areas where there are instructional program gaps that put students at risk of not meeting the New York State Learning Standards (Commissioner’s Regulation 100.1(t)).

Each checklist serves two important functions:  It is a blueprint to communicate the high expectations of program quality.  It is also a program self-assessment tool that local educators can use for program improvement.  A strong education program, well supported by the school district and aligned with the State learning standards, is the essential foundation for ensuring student attainment of the New York State Learning Standards. 

This document contains a checklist for each of the non-tested content areas.  Administrators and instructional staff will use a four-point rubric to evaluate the program indicators on the checklists.  The checklists also include an Acceptable Evidence column, where schools will list program- and student-based evidence for determining the program’s effectiveness in helping students meet and exceed the New York State Learning Standards.  Each checklist will have common program indicators.   Some of the checklists have modified program indicator names and additional program indicators that reflect the individual and unique qualities of the content areas.   These additional indicators have been included based on feedback from our Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklist Advisory Committee.   Additionally, some content areas have reprioritized the order of their program indicators.   However, all program indicators must be assessed to ascertain a program’s level of achievement in meeting the New York State Learning Standards. 

The common program indicators included on each checklist are:

  1. Student Performance                              
  2. Collaboration                                          
  3. Curriculum/Integration                            
  4. Youth Development                                
  5. Professional Staff  
  6. Administrative Support                                
  7. Scheduling/Student Access
  8. Instructional Technology
  9. Facilities/Equipment
  10. Resources/Collections

In 1996, the Board of Regents adopted a set of learning standards and performance indicators that emphasize a variety of intellectual skills that ask all students, prekindergarten through 12th grade, to compare and contrast ideas, identify cause and effect, draw inferences and make conclusions, evaluate evidence, probe assumptions, maintain a skeptical attitude toward questionable arguments, distinguish fact from opinion and handle diverse interpretations and perspectives.  The Department, working with many teachers across the State, developed and issued core curricula aligned to the New York State Learning Standards, which outlines the topics and skills that must be incorporated into local school curriculum and instructional practice. 

The core curriculum respects the tradition of local choice in New York State that empowers educators to select textbooks and materials and use a rich array of instructional strategies and activities to meet individual student learning needs.  The core curricula are designed to provide assistance, while allowing for creativity in the development of local curriculum and instructional programs.  The New York State Learning Standards, performance indicators and the core curricula are the foundation upon which local school districts develop their curriculum and make determinations regarding instructional practice. The Department encourages curriculum development that promotes deep understanding of content as opposed to rote drill and memorization.  We continually encourage local curriculum design and instructional practice that promotes students’ abilities to problem solve and use information for critical analysis and conceptual understanding. 

The Department will also begin to design a strategy to update course content in the non-tested content areas.  Curriculum guidance for Home & Career Skills and Technology Education will be reviewed and updated beginning in summer 2005.

A quality program environment is a factor that ensures student attainment of the New York State Learning Standards.  Results will be reported in the meeting minutes of the local school board, and annually by the district and middle level schools to the State Education Department.  Those reports will include information on the:

  • implementation of the Model B, C-1 or C-2 proposal contained in the approved application;
  • measurable indicators/evidence of school change and improvement as proposed in the application (which may be all or some of the evidence from the SED-approved research-based survey instruments used to collect a common set of data from all Model B, C-1 or C-2 schools);
  • school’s Performance Index;
  • State-developed checklists of knowledge and skills in those areas where there are no State assessments; and
  • compliance with the six Educational Conditions outlined in the application package.

As we continue to work with our field representatives, additional information, including topics regarding students with disabilities and English language learners, will be addressed.

Action Plan Template

The Action Plan Template, on the final page of each checklist, is a companion tool to the checklist.  School districts should use the Template to identify areas where there are gaps in their programs and to list strategies to close the gaps.  The Template also includes a timeline for implementing strategies, the staff person responsible, projected costs and anticipated funding sources.

Additional Resources  

Additional resources, including existing resources that teachers can use to strengthen and enrich their programs, follow each checklist.  State-developed resources, including the New York State Learning Standards for each non-tested content area, are listed first, followed by national resources, international resources, and resources produced by the content area professional organizations.  Links to listed documents have been included, where available.

Links to information created and maintained by other public and private organizations are included in this document. These links are provided for the user's convenience. The Education Department does not control or guarantee the accuracy, relevance, timeliness, or completeness of this outside information. Further, the inclusion of links to particular items is not intended to reflect their importance, nor is it intended to endorse any views expressed, or products or services offered, on these outside sites, or the organizations sponsoring the sites.

Board of Regents Middle Level Policy and Definitions of the Three Model Strategies

  • Board of Regents Strategy to Implement the Middle Level Policy
  • Description of Models A, B, C-1, and C-2
    • Model A (Comply with Existing Regulations):
    • Districts would continue to comply with the current regulations, making full use of the existing flexibility provisions in the regulations (e.g., offering exploratory courses in grade 6). 
    • Model B (Strengthen the Academic Core): 
    • Districts would be able to propose a program that strengthens core academic subjects and effective academic intervention services.  This program will provide all students with exploratory subjects that address the learning standards, are of high interest to students, and further reinforce core academic learning.
    • Model C (Restructuring or Building on Success): 
    • C-1 - Districts would be able to propose new ideas for restructuring the full educational program or
    • C-2 - Districts would be able to propose specific program enhancements and be granted relief from programmatic regulatory requirements, while ensuring that all students receive opportunities to achieve all of the New York State Learning Standards. 
    • Model C is based, in part, on the Next Generation Schools proposal in the May 2004 report to the Regents.  It is designed to enable schools to engage in a planned and thoughtful process of innovation and experimentation, based upon their need and capacity, and to document successful implementation of programs that could be replicated in other schools.

Schools submitting a Model B or Model C application must document alternative strategies that ensure students receive instruction in all 28 of the New York State Learning Standards, including those in the non-tested areas.  Examples of alternative ways to meet the standards include integrating instruction with other standards areas, team teaching across subject areas, offering mini-courses, etc.

Applicants may seek relief from time requirements, but not from instruction in the standards areas.  In their applications, districts must demonstrate that these alternative strategies will result in meeting the State learning standards at the intermediate level. 

There are several requirements with which the applicants must comply to receive approval of their applications, including adhering to the design principles, providing evidence of consultation with and identifying concerns of the shared decision-making team, completing a self-study process (required for Model B and Model C-1) and meeting school improvement plan requirements.

The Department will not approve any application that requests to eliminate instruction in a standards area. 

New York State Learning Standards

The New York State Learning Standards for the non-tested content areas is the first item included under Additional Resources for each Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklist.

Questions and Answers About the Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists

Is there a requirement for the Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklist in the Middle Level Education Application?

Answer:  No; however, district personnel are encouraged to use the Checklist to create a baseline to evaluate the success and impact of the program, and to use it annually to monitor program progress and student achievement.

Who completes the Checklist?

Answer:  Administrators, teachers and members of the shared-decision making team should be involved in completing the Checklist.

Is the Checklist about student performance or program performance?

Answer:  The 10 common program indicators and the rubrics are essential parts of every instructional program. However, while the Student Performance indicator has student-based evidence, the other indicators have program-based evidence that link program effectiveness to student achievement of the New York State Learning Standards.

Why is there a focus on program rather than on what students know and can do?

Answer:  Evidence should show that student achievement meets the New York State Learning Standards. A well-developed program is necessary for student attainment of the New York State Learning Standards.

What types of information would be examples of acceptable evidence in a content area for each of the Checklist categories?

Answer:  Examples of acceptable evidence should illustrate or demonstrate that the instructional program or student achievement meets the New York State Learning Standards for the content area. As an example, for Music Education, acceptable evidence would be: NYS School Music Association (NYSSMA) solo/ensemble ratings, NYSSMA Major Organization ratings, school schedule, music budget, increasing or stable numbers of students in the performing organizations, and student population well represented in the music program.

Will the non-tested content areas be less visible if there is a focus on integration and collaboration?

Answer:  The quality and level of the guidance that you provide will stimulate local initiative and drive the quality of the program. An annual report will be presented to the Board of Regents.

Is there a strategy for the Department to update course content in the non-tested areas as outlined in the February 2005 Report to the Board of Regents?

Answer:  Yes; curriculum guidance for Home & Career Skills and Technology Education will be reviewed and updated beginning in summer 2005. A schedule for review and update of the course content in the other non-tested areas is under review.

Acknowledgements

Many teachers and administrators contributed to the development of the Middle Level Indicators of Achievement Checklists.  We are very grateful for the time and expertise contributed to the development of this document.  Listed below are the names of those educators representing Health Education, Home & Career Skills, Library Media, Music Education, Physical Education, Technology Education and Visual Arts Education who submitted or reviewed the materials that appear in this document, as well as the names of Department staff who contributed to its development.

Acknowledgements
Name School/Organization
Niels Andersen Lockport Central School District
Rick Amundson Webster Central School District
Heather Bacon Genesee Valley BOCES
Pat Barbanell Schenectady City School District
Gary Bates  Lawrence Central School District
Jessica Bayer Hewlett-Woodmere School District
Jane Berzner Valley Stream Central School District #24
Bob Binggeli    Newark Central School District
James J. Cassara Northport Central Schools, Retired
Dodie Cechnicki  Schenectady City School District
Colleen Canorro Corsi New York State Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance
Jennifer Childress College of St. Rose
Rhonda Cole New York City Public Schools
Katie Colletti  Creative Possibilities, Woodstock, NY
Linda Cooper    Pratt Institute
Mary Jeanne Dicker Guilderland Central Schools
Owen Donovan SUNY Cortland
Gary English New York Statewide Center for Healthy Schools
Rosanna Frank Family and Consumer Science Association
Jeanne Gray Webster Central School District, Retired
Kim McLaughlin Genesee Valley BOCES
Alta Jo Longware Ausable Central School District
Jennifer Matott Liverpool High Central School District
Catherine Marriott Orchard Park Central Schools
Judy Marsh Wayne Finger Lakes BOCES
William J. Mercer Liverpool Central School District, Retired
Kerry A. Mero Elizabethtown Lewis Central School District
Greg Montague Clarkstown Central School District
Kate Nichol   Chatham Central School District
James Orgar Brighton Central School District
Donna Tuman Long Island University, C W Post Campus
Michael Parks Buffalo State University
Theresa Phillips Oneida Central School District
Rosemarie Posillico Shenendehowa Central School District
Mary Ratzer Shenendehowa Central School District, Retired
Charlene Reagan Mamaroneck Central School District
JoAnn Sabourin Waterford Central School District
Dawn Scagnelli Scotia Glenville Central School District
Natalie Schifano The School of Visual Arts, New York, New York
George H. Smith Bethlehem Central School District
Rocco Staino North Salem Central School District
Barbara Stripling New York City Public Schools
Linda Traynor Pittsford Monroe Central School District
Linda Tuggey Utica City School District
Janet Tully-Kuzman Guilderland Central School District
Patrick Veltri Kenmore Tonawanda Central School District
Shirley Ware New York State Association of Family and Consumer Sciences
Susan Westover New York City Public Schools
Rod Wheeler North Colonie Central School District
Ronald Whitcomb Victor Central School District
Barbara Wurz Scotia Glenville Central School District
Kathy Bunney
Mary Ellen Colella
Judith Golombiski
Kent Gray
Patricia Kocialski
Edward Marschilok
Gordon Odermann
Helen Paruolo
David A. Payton
Frances Roscello
Alan Silverman
Eric Suhr
Patricia Webster
 New York State Education Department
Last Updated: February 4, 2010