March 03, 2014 Adjustments to Common Core Implementation
KEEPING YOU INFORMED…
The State Board of Regents’ P-12 Education and Higher Education Committees (“the Committees”) have adopted several reform measures that were recommended by a P-12 Education Committee Work Group regarding the implementation of the new Common Core Standards (“the Standards”). In December 2013, this Work Group was tasked with reviewing the feedback that the Board of Regents and the State Education Department (“SED”) had received regarding the phase-in of the new Standards and recommending adjustments to improve their ongoing implementation.
In the report approved by the Committees, the Work Group recommended 19 different adjustment options addressing the implementation of the Standards. These concerned professional development, State assessments, Annual Professional Performance Review (“APPR”), local assessments, teacher and principal evaluations, periodic review of the Common Core standards, increased funding for professional development, additional support for English language learners and students with disabilities, increased access to test questions and curriculum development.
Although the full Board of Regents adopted nearly all of the Work Group’s recommendations at its February 11, 2014 meeting, SED has yet to release the specific details of the Board’s actions at this meeting. Nevertheless, SED has indicated that it intends to issue comprehensive field guidance as the recommendations are finalized and implemented. In the interim, here are several of the recommendations that we believe will be of interest to you.
Delayed Implementation to 2022
The Report has recommended that high school students be provided with more time to meet the Common Core standards by extending the “phase-in for Common Core-aligned Regents examinations required for graduation. . . .” Pursuant to this recommendation, the class of 2022 would be the first class “required to pass English and mathematics Regents exams at college and career ready levels.” As SED explained in follow up guidance issued on February 12, 2014, for purposes of graduation, the class of 2022 would be the first class subject to an aspirational college- and career-readiness cut score on these exams (comparable to the existing score of 75 on the English Language Arts Regents exam and 80 on the Math Regents exam) indicating that students have met Common Core course-level expectations aligned to college- and career-readiness. Prior to 2022, graduating classes would only be subject to a cut score of 65 on these exams.
The Report made several recommendations that directly relate to APPR:
- That an expedited review be conducted of APPR plan amendments that reduce or eliminate unnecessary testing;
- That a 1% cap be established on the time that students spend on standardized tests to comply with districts’ locally selected APPR measures;
- That flexibility be offered to districts to “reduce local testing time required by APPR” by allowing “the use of school-wide measures for APPR purposes for teachers of middle school social studies (grades 6-8) and science (grades 6-7)”; and
- That traditional standardized tests in grades K-2 be eliminated by disapproving APPR plans “beginning in 2014/2015 that include administration of traditional standardized tests in grades K-2,” and by removing “all grade K-2 traditional standardized tests from the list of approved locally-selected student assessments for APPR purposes.”
Additionally, the Board of Regents deferred adopting a recommendation that would have provided a new defense for teachers in Section 3020-a disciplinary proceedings due to ineffective ratings caused by student performances on Common Core assessments from the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. If adopted, this would have allowed teachers to assert that their ineffective ratings were caused by the district’s failure to timely and adequately implement the Common Core.
As always, we will continue to keep you updated on developments with the implementation of the Common Core Standards as SED issues additional guidance. Please contact us if you have any questions about how these changes affect you.
THIS MEMORANDUM IS MEANT TO ASSIST IN GENERAL UNDERSTANDING OF THE CURRENT LAW. IT IS NOT TO BE REGARDED AS LEGAL ADVICE. THOSE WITH PARTICULAR QUESTIONS SHOULD SEEK THE ADVICE OF COUNSEL.
© Lamb & Barnosky, LLP 2014