The Onondaga-Cortland-Madison (OCM) BOCES has created a video that focuses on the New York State Learning Standards, discussing their purpose and highlighting some of the changes made to the Learning Standards for 2018. It also touches on how assessments are scored, and what can be done with the data that is compiled.|
The New York State Learning Standards serve as guidelines for what students should know (and be able to do) at each grade level. While these standards are intended to serve as benchmarks for student performance in key disciplines at each grade level, they do not provide set instructions for how to meet these benchmarks.
“One of the big misconceptions about standards is that standards tell the teachers how to teach students the content,” says Nancy Starke, an AIS Math and K-5 Math Coordinator from the Chittenango Central School District. “Standards just basically list the content that the student needs to learn, and it’s up to the teacher, the districts, the teams to decide how best to teach the students to meet those goals.”
In order to help teachers measure their success in this endeavor, assessment is required. As students are tested in areas such as English Learning Arts (ELA) and math, the results of these tests are stored, scanned, and processed by the Central New York Regional Information Center (CNYRIC), which provides this support to 50 public school districts and 30 non-public/private entities. Rather than simply providing raw numbers to the districts, CNYRIC data coordinators work closely with district administration to make the most effective use of information gleaned from these assessments.
“A lot of people hear the word ‘data,’ and they think that it’s crunching numbers,” says Chris Klivak, Data Coordinator at the CNYRIC. “What I try to communicate to districts is that it’s more about having a starting point for good conversation, that’s going to improve instruction and student learning.”
Before data can be compiled (and conversations had), there must be the actual testing, and OCM BOCES’ video addresses the myriad changes made to the assessment/testing for 2018. OCM BOCES’ Assistant Superintendent for Instructional Support Services Jennifer Spong details the changes made to the testing methodology, including session length, question creation, time allotted, and more. Many of these changes were incorporated after New York State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia listened to stakeholder concerns about past procedures, and aim to do a more comprehensive job of measuring student progress at each grade level.
To learn more about New York State Learning Standards, visit the NYSED website, or stop by www.engageny.org. To learn more about OCM BOCES programs, visit its YouTube page.