Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online

Local News

April 16, 2013

Tougher state tests start today

EDUCATION: State ELA and math tests are more rigorous, education leaders say.

Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — Albany wants students throughout New York state to be ready for college and the workforce by the time they graduate high school. This week, students will take state assessments that now reflect that goal.

Students in third through eighth grade will take the annual state English language arts assessment this week, starting today through Thursday. Next week, the students will take the mathematics test, April 24 though 26.

The implementation of rigorous new English and math standards makes New York one of 45 states that have adopted the Common Core standards, a uniform set of benchmarks which include a dozen changes in the way students are taught. From kindergarten through 12th grade, the goal is building an educational foundation that supports a student’s future.

Royalton-Hartland Superintendent Kevin MacDonald and Curriculum and Assessment Director Sheila T. Murphy discussed the Common Core standards with Board of Education members Thursday.

”It’s not just about completion of high school anymore, it’s about preparation for the next level,” MacDonald said.

The math changes, or shifts as educators call it, include having students diving deeply into fewer, more in-depth concepts. The standards call for more attention to skill building, speed and accuracy. Kids will be expected to apply what they’ve learned.

English and language arts standards split reading more evenly between reading fiction and non-fiction. Students will have to read and understand more complex texts so they can write about what they read.

The idea is to have kids not just answer a question but explain how they got the answer.

”It’s a higher order of thinking,” said Jim Snyder, principal of North Park Junior High School in Lockport.

”The state has made it clear with us that students should grapple with more rigorous text,” said Tom Adams, Newfane Middle School principal. “We’ve seen more of that this year.”

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