In response to concerns from parents of elementary school students about the new Common Core Curriculum and associated testing, Sen. Kenneth P. LaValle has introduced legislation to ensure that the Common Core mandated state exams are “fair, unbiased, grade level appropriate and administered properly.”
After meeting with parents and with representatives of the State Education Department, LaValle agreed that Common Core could have been sequenced more effectively; and said that, going forward, the Board of Regents and State Education Commissioner must make certain that the curriculum resources are in place.
While LaValle confirms that the legislature does not play a role in the adoption of Common Core, his bill provides oversight to ensure the “disclosure of test questions and answers so that parents, teachers and students can have an opportunity to review test questions to better understand and the reason behind a particular class or child's test scores.”
In addition, under the new bill, the Commissioner of the State Education Department is required to report annually to the Legislature about the following:
- The effectiveness of Common Core state tests in enhancing student learning and performance;
- The fairness and appropriateness of test items for each grade level, including the percentage of test items found to be above grade level;
- The correlation between test scores and grade point averages of test subjects taking Common Core state tests;
- A statistical analysis of student performance based on socioeconomic, gender, race and ethnicity and regional factors;
- The effectiveness of the test agency as the test development vendor;
- Factors to be considered in determining whether to continue with the current test agency or other vendor as a test agency or utilize Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) tests in 2015.
LaValle’s new legislation also provides for an appeal process for parents in cases where they feel their child received an inappropriate score and a one-time exam waiver for extenuating circumstances. Additionally, the bill provides accommodations for English language learners and students with disabilities.
The comprehensive bill further requires the State Education Department to survey school administrators and teachers on a variety issues surrounding common core testing and an independent audit of the Common Core program in New York State.
In light of the new curriculum and the importance placed on the state mandated exams, LaValle said in a press release, “I am confident our school districts, teachers and parents will rise to meet the challenges of this new reality and work together to do what is in the best interest for our students.”
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[Source: NY Senate]