Home / New English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Test Formats Roll Out This Week in New York

New English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Test Formats Roll Out This Week in New York

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The New York State Education Department releases new tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics as early as tomorrow. These new tests are the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) and are designed to make students more “college ready” in the years to come. There are opportunities and challenges which will come with the decision to upgrade testing standards (CCLS) for all students.

Essentially, this goal in implementation means that students will be able to handle college work without the current emphasis on non-credit courses in college, which many students face as the price of admission even with a high school diploma in hand.

The new tests are aimed at evaluating critical thinking skills with less emphasis on memorization, recall, arithmetic compilation, and mastering some of the standard geometric forms. The thinking is to graduate students who have a good knowledge of the verbal and analytical dynamics of pre-K to 12 while possessing the critical thinking skills to apply the knowledge in more complex applications of the material.

This goal alone has considerable merit; however, there are other issues lurking in the background. First, a growing number of students (perhaps as large as 33%) have no particular interest in college. Many seek to pursue the trades like electrical, plumbing, boiler repair, professional chefs, construction labor, building maintenance, arts and crafts, music, or even opening up a small business. These students should not be forced into learning a rigorous academic sequence.

Secondly, upgrading the testing regimen does not deal forthrightly with the need to teach English language immersion from pre-K onward. Our school system should have to access advanced linguistic methodologies taught by Pimsleur, Rosetta Stone, and others. Even beyond language, students need to learn how to set boundaries so that they can complete the learning cycle in the home environment.

Teaching students how to set boundaries means arranging for small group participation sessions in order to rehearse student responses as early as pre-K. Lastly, teachers must establish a liaison with parents to ensure that the home environment is either conducive to learning or can be made conducive to learning. In some cases, students will be required to access school libraries or public libraries to complete homework because the home environment may not be accomodative for completing the learning cycle.

The movement toward upgrading academic standards throughout New York State can have important long term benefits; however, there are limitations to just upgrading standards without addressing the issues enumerated above.

More work must be done in the early grades to ensure that students have the necessary professional language immersion together with small group behavior sessions which teach children how to set meaningful and necessary boundaries in their families and peer group relationships.

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About Dr Joseph S Maresca

I've taught approx. 34 sections of collegiate courses including computer applications, college algebra, collegiate statistics, law, accounting, finance and economics. The experience includes service as a Board Director on the CPA Journal and Editor of the CPA Candidates Inc. Newsletter. In college, I worked as a statistics lab assistant. Manhattan College awarded a BS in an allied area of operations research. The program included courses in calculus, ordinary differential equations, probability, statistical inference, linear algebra , the more advanced operations research, price analysis and econometrics. Membership in the Delta Mu Delta National Honor Society was granted together with the degree. My experience includes both private account and industry. In addition, I've worked extensively in the Examinations Division of the AICPA from time to time. Recently, I passed the Engineering in Training Exam which consisted of 9 hours of examination in chemistry, physics, calculus, differential equations, linear algebra, probability/ statistics, fluids, electronics, materials science/structure of matter, mechanics, statics, thermodynamics, computer science, dynamics and a host of minor subject areas like engineering economics. A very small percentage of engineers actually take and pass the EIT exam. The number has hovered at circa 5%. Several decades ago, I passed the CPA examination and obtained another license in Computer Information Systems Auditing. A CISA must have knowledge in the areas of data center review, systems applications, the operating system of the computer, disaster recovery, contingency planning, developmental systems, the standards which govern facility reviews and a host of other areas. An MBA in Accounting with an Advanced Professional Certificate in Computer Applications/ Information Systems , an Advanced Professional Certificate in Finance and an Advanced Professional Certificate in Organizational Design were earned at New York University-Graduate School of Business (Stern ). In December of 2005, an earned PhD in Accounting was granted by the Ross College. The program entrance requires a previous Masters Degree for admittance together with a host of other criteria. The REGISTRAR of Ross College contact is: Tel . US 202-318-4454 FAX [records for Dr. Joseph S. Maresca Box 646 Bronxville NY 10708-3602] The clinical experience included the teaching of approximately 34 sections of college accounting, economics, statistics, college algebra, law, thesis project coursework and the professional grading of approx. 50,000 CPA examination essays with the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. Additionally, membership is held in the Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society chartered in 1994. Significant writings include over 10 copyrights in the name of the author (Joseph S. Maresca) and a patent in the earthquake sciences.
  • The problems with these new assessments are recognized by everyone in education in NYS, including the commissioner’s office. There is an expectation that students will score lower (even poorly in many districts). It was pure folly to connect the CCSS to these tests in the first year of implementation, and it was done with complete disregard of the teachers and students involved here.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    I understand. This aspect could cause resistance among the faculty. All of a sudden this new standard is being required. Scores may dive initially thereby creating a huge motivation problem for teachers, parents and students.

  • Megan Torniainen

    My son is in third grade and an A student. His school switched to the common core curriculum in November. He brings home state test prep math sheets for homework and there is typically 1/3 that they haven’t covered in class yet. He is frustrated, tells me he feels stupid, and dreads going to school every day. NYS needs to see that they can’t upgrade academic standards by increasing testing and cutting budgets at the same time. The work is getting harder and our faculty is getting smaller every year.

  • Dr Joseph S Maresca

    I don’t think that they should design tests strictly on the curriculum. The tests need to provide educators and parents with a sense as to whether or not students can apply the material in real world and common sense applications. Generally speaking, these tests are geared for the top students and the grades are scaled according to what the top students accomplish. At some point, a minimum threshold is established.