Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

September 16, 2013

Quick study

New state tests and Common Core bringing rapid changes


Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — “These children are technically not regressing,” Croft said. “It’s like if you didn’t lose any weight, you stayed at the same weight but when you stepped on a scale, it made you look like you were gaining weight.”

In the past, a student who receives a level 2 score would be required to receive academic intervention services from their school. On paper it seems lower scores for districts would mean an increase in AIS, but Albany is allowing districts a little leeway and soften up the cutoff, Croft said.

”Otherwise we’d be throwing, in some cases, over 50 percent of a grade level in remediation,” he said.

In some districts, there probably won’t be an increase. Bradley said Lockport isn’t expecting an increase in students who need AIS. But the district will know for sure this week when districts officials meet.

Also coming soon, is information from the state that will tell schools what content areas students are struggling in on the tests. Having an idea what topics students are having a hard time with would help schools address those areas, Croft said.

Of course, schools and teachers want that information sooner, he added.

For this school year, teachers have been preparing lesson plans that will align with the Common Core standards. Some of those changes will include for example, reading standards that will involve more than picking answers from the text. Students will need to discern the mood and tone of certain stories, not just key words.

Reading and writing will be more integrated into other subject areas, as well, so students will be writing about social studies and science as part of their English curriculum. Math problems won’t always be the usual straightforward problem, they could be embedded in longer word problems.

”We’re not going to be teaching to the test, because we know that doesn’t work,” Croft said. “We’re teaching to the skills.”

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