Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

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From Senior Deputy Commissioner John B. King, Jr.
February 23, 2010

Important Information about the 2009 - 2010 Testing Program

The 2009-10 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math exams will be moved into late April/May. This change will ensure that teachers have adequate time to teach the curriculum and also provides for a more complete measurement and coverage of the New York State Learning Standards; increased rigor to support the move towards higher standards for students; more reliable results; and the ability to more accurately assess year-to-year growth.

The math exams will move from March to May and will expand to cover performance indicators that: 1) have not been tested before; or 2) have not been tested within the past two years. Over the span of the 6 grades tested, on average, a minimum of approximately 25% of the questions on the 2010 math exams will cover performance indicators that were not covered by the questions on the 2009 Tests. For 2010, the number of actual test questions will remain the same.

The English exams will move from January to late April/May; they will continue to use the same format and same number of questions as exams in previous years. The Department uses authentic literature and non-fiction passages on these assessments; we will continue to use high quality reading passages, both prose and poetry, to evaluate students’ reading skills.

The Board has directed that the exams be reviewed and that new performance level cut scores be determined to increase the rigor of the Testing Program. The Department’s research staff is working with CTB/McGraw Hill on technical documentation to implement this directive. The Department is also working with CTB/McGraw Hill on the design and implementation of a Secure Anchor/Audit Testing Function for April/May 2010 exams. This anchor/audit function will complement the publicly released test forms and provide the Department with the capability to: verify the test equating results; and to compare New York standards and student achievement to the nation as a whole.

Information regarding the Grades 3-8 Testing Schedule for the 2009-10 and Program Guidance for the Mathematics Testing Program may be found at:
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/schedules/2010/3-8schedule-11242009.pdf PDF file icon (66 KB)
http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/mathei/2010/3-8math2010.pdf PDF file icon (356 KB)

Race to the Top

I would like to express my appreciation for the support and assistance you gave to the State Education Department as we prepared New York State’s Race to the Top application that we submitted to the U.S. Department of Education on January 19. I thank all of you who worked with us on the application and signed MOUs that allowed us to submit a strong application with an agenda promoting educational excellence and equity for all students in New York State.

February Meeting of the Board of Regents

At its meeting on February 8-9, the Board of Regents discussed and considered policy questions for several crucial issues:

  • Virtual High School Initiative – Part II

    In November, the Regents directed staff to develop a proposal for the creation of a virtual high school that would provide Department-approved rigorous courses aligned to the NYS Learning Standards. The Board discussed the need for standards for approved online courses and the role of the Department in a virtual high school initiative. The discussion will continue in March concerning the need for regulatory flexibility to support this initiative.

    See the Regents item on the Virtual High School Initiative – Part II for more information.

  • Broadband Access

    The Board discussed universal broadband access and the possible inclusion of it as part of the Regents federal legislative agenda. The discussion focused on the biggest challenges – insufficient bandwidth/technical support inside individual school buildings and cost. State Education Department (SED) staff will update the Regents at the March meeting with more information on the numbers of districts without broadband access and how to address New York’s overall digital infrastructure as part of implementing the Statewide Learning Technology Plan.

    See the Regents item on Broadband Access for more information.

  • Grades 3-8 Testing Program Update

    In June 2009, SED staff were directed to make changes to strengthen the testing program and move the Grades 3-8 tests to May, beginning with the 2009-10 school year. The Board discussed the immediate positive impact of these changes as they more completely measure and cover the NYS Learning Standards, increase rigor to support the move toward higher standards, and produce more reliable results.

    See the Regents item on the Grades 3-8 Testing Program Update for more information.

  • Regents College and Career Readiness Working Group

    The Board discussed the development of a work plan and timeline for the Regents College and Career Readiness Working Group. The Working Group will develop recommendations to be submitted to the Board of Regents for discussion and approval in July, and a group of advisors will be appointed to meet with the Working Group. The recommendations will focus on High School Diploma Requirements, High School Assessments, and GED policy and program.

    See the Regents item on the Regents College and Career Readiness Working Group for more information.

  • Early Childhood Education

    At the Board of Regents meeting, the Early Childhood Workgroup discussed several key points:
    • the capacity that SED will need to build to be in a competitive position for federal funding focused on early education
    • whether sufficient emphasis has been placed on using early childhood as an effective strategy for closing the achievement gap or as part of a P-12 continuum
    • what policies are needed to provide for a cohesive and comprehensive service delivery system focused on birth through age five that will be addressed in the potential Early Learning Challenge Fund.

    SED will establish a series of statewide meetings to initiate a conversation with local programs and agencies.

    See the Regents item on Early Childhood Education for more information.

  • Transforming Teaching

    SED staff presented draft standards to the Board for a pilot program for a clinically-based graduate teacher preparation program which would be open to both collegiate and non-collegiate institutions with a demonstrated track record for preparing teachers in high need schools. SED staff will draft a Request for Proposal for the pilot program for the Board’s approval.

    See the Regents item on Transforming Teaching for more information.

  • Teaching Standards Development

    The Board had a rich conversation about the development of teacher standards with the President of the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE), the Vice President of the Teacher Education Accreditation Council (TEAC), and the Co-chairs of the Professional Standards and Practices Board for Teaching. The teaching standards would be the basis for the redesign of pre-service teacher preparation programs, performance assessments for certification, annual professional performance reviews, and professional development for New York teachers. The Board asked SED staff to engage the educational community in the development of draft teacher education standards for the Board’s consideration.

    See the Regents item on Teaching Standards Development for more information.

  • Professional Assessment System for Educational Leaders

    Building on the work already completed through the Wallace-funded grant, SED staff presented the work to date on the development of an annual performance assessment for school leaders. After seeking feedback from the field, SED staff will return with a revised model for the Board’s consideration.

    See the Regents item on the Professional Assessment System for Educational Leaders for more information.

January Meeting of the Board of Regents

At its meeting on January 11-12, the Board of Regents acted in support of the following initiative:

  • Developing and Implementing Common, High-Quality Assessments

    The Board endorsed the participation of New York State in a consortium of states that will work toward jointly developing and implementing common, high-quality assessments aligned with a common set of K-12 standards. Once the final guidelines for the Assessment Competition are released, NYSED staff will develop a proposed application.

    See the Regents item on Developing and Implementing Common, High-Quality Assessments for more information.

The Board of Regents also discussed and considered policy questions for a crucial issue:

  • Proposed Framework for New York State High School Exiting Credential

    The Regents discussed a proposal to establish a new Certificate that would document a student’s level of achievement towards the State learning standards, with specific information in the areas of career development, integrated learning, and universal foundation skills. The Board supported staff developing a policy framework to address the eligibility for the Certificate, the criteria for its award, and the timeframe for replacing the IEP diploma. Particular concerns were raised regarding putting safeguards in place to ensure that the Certificate was not used in place of a regular diploma for students with and without disabilities who should be expected to receive and be ensured full access to all preparation for a regular diploma. SED staff will proceed with the development of the credential and return to the Board in the fall of 2010 for further discussion.

    See the Regents item on the Proposed Framework for New York State High School Exiting Credential for more information.

Additional News

School Level Expenditure Reporting System to Open

Guidance regarding the ARRA Title I, Part A has been posted at http://usny.nysed.gov/arra/reporting/home.html along with a list of the districts that are required to report. An online system is being piloted for districts to use in reporting. It is expected the online system will open the end of February 2010 with districts having until March 15 to submit data. Questions or concerns should be addressed to the Office of Educational Management Services at 518-474-6541 or emscmgt@mail.nysed.gov (please include "ARRA School Level Expenditure Reporting" in the subject line).

Nominate an Outstanding Teacher for the 2011 Teacher of the Year

The application for the 2011 Teacher of the Year Award is now available on the Web at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/kiap/ted/toty/. The New York State Teacher of the Year program, which is run in conjunction with the National Teacher of the Year program, recognizes and celebrates outstanding teachers throughout the State. To be eligible, a teacher must be appropriately credentialed within his or her current teaching area, working directly with students (pre-kindergarten through grade twelve) in a State-approved public, private or charter school and have a minimum of five years teaching experience. A teacher may be initially recommended for nomination by any person within the school or community including parents, students, business leaders, school administrators or colleagues. Deadline for nominations is Friday, March 19, 2010. We look forward to receiving many applications from our statewide teachers for this important teacher recognition initiative. If you have any questions or need additional information, please contact Kathleen Clarity, Teacher of the Year Coordinator, at (518) 486-6042 or via e-mail at: tdpr@mail.nysed.gov. Thank you.

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Last Updated: September 23, 2010