New Starting Point?

So in this video, linked on our school website to the State Ed’s website with resources for parents, Commissioner King and Associate Commissioner Slentz talk about the common core standards and the new 3-8 assessments.

Mr. Slentz says emphatically that everyone must understand that we expect the results to be lower and that we will have a new starting point. If it’s a new starting point, with new standards and new assessments, then how can they be compared to the results we’ve gotten in the past on different assessments? How can we compare the growth of our students against two different measures? And we’re doing so in high stakes ways that result in evaluation scores for teachers and principals?

Let’s also remember that the tests our students are taking this week are completely aligned with the common core curriculum, something that’s at best been introduced in most NYS school districts. I wonder how Business First, who historically looks at four years of test results, will handle this new starting point in their comparative studies. (Read sarcasm.)

As a district leader, I’m paid to handle the change, to make decisions, to educate the entire school community on these changes and to lead the district to greater academic success. We’ve been ahead of this game all along, implementing iReady diagnostic tools and the new teacher/principal evaluation tools last year. We’ve been closely analyzing and implementing the common core curriculum guides as they become available. But all is not in place yet, in any district or from the state. And now we evaluate our children on a curriculum they haven’t fully learned and certainly haven’t come through the system with yet.

Having said all of that I do believe we are as equipped to handle the changes as any district can be. I remain optimistic and RCS community members, including teachers and parents, should too. At the end of the day, we’ve done all that we could do to prepare, to learn with rigor, to help one another. Make sure our children know that too! These are interesting days in public education.

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  1. I could spend all day counting the reasons why these scores should not be used to evaluate teachers, but in our own conversations at the other end of the region last week, this seemed to provide some measure of clarification and ease angst: the comparison will be made by studying how students in your district fared on the assessment as compared to those in the state last year and then studying how your students fared on the assessment as compared to those in the state this year.

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