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Regents Adopts Changes to Common Core, Testing

on February 15, 2014

Amid a growing clamor for change, the New York State Board of Regents adopted several measures meant to improve the implementation of the Common Core Learning Standards at its meetings Feb. 10-11. Gov. Andrew Cuomo responded with a call for any changes to await legislative recommendations from his recently appointed Common Core panel.

Sharon Springs Central School District and others across the state are now beginning the process of understanding what this means for students and educators.

A Regents work group report, initially presented to the Board of Regents P-12 Education and Higher Education Committees, made a variety of recommendations on Common Core implementation. Those recommendations included providing more funding for instructional development and resources related to the Common Core, delaying the phase-in for Common Core-aligned Regents exams, reducing field testing, providing more testing and curriculum options for students with disabilities and English language learners, capping testing time, and a variety of other measures. View the full report (PDF)

The Board of Regents adopted the full report, with one exception. It plans to invite further public comment and review before acting on a measure related to the termination of teachers based on ineffective evaluations.

Under the changes that were made, the class of 2022 – not the class of 2017 – will be the first class to face new higher graduation requirements based on the Common Core Regents exams. This means the full phase in of these new exams will occur 12 years after the standards were adopted in 2010. The Regents also passed new measures meant to change how local testing is used to inform teacher and principal evaluations. This includes eliminating local traditional standardized tests used to inform teacher evaluations for grades K-2, and capping the instructional time that can be used for local assessments used to inform teacher evaluations at one percent.

“We’ve heard the concerns expressed at the hearings and forums, and we regret that the urgency of our work, and the unevenness of implementation, have caused frustration and anxiety for some of our educators, students, and their families. This report is designed to make significant and timely changes to improve our shared goal of implementing the Common Core,” Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch said in a news release.

The governor issued a formal statement in response to the report. In it, he praised the Common Core, but criticized its implementation in New York.

“I have created a commission to thoroughly examine how we can address these issues. The commission has started its work and we should await their recommendations so that we can find a legislative solution this session to solve these problems,” said Cuomo.

Sharon Springs school leaders will update parents, students and teachers affected by these measures as more is learned about what they mean locally and when they might officially take effect.

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