Next Generation standards approved

by Cathy Woodruff

On Board Online • September 18, 2017

By Cathy Woodruff
Senior Writer

The Board of Regents approved a revised set of math and English language arts learning standards for New York students at their September meeting, officially launching a transition from the controversial Common Core standards to a new version to be known as Next Generation standards.

The transition period calls for full implementation of the new standards in the 2020-21 school year. Until then, state tests will continue to be based on the current standards, and professional development will unfold to help teachers develop curriculum and teaching strategies based on the Next Generation standards.

"The standards we adopted today continue to be rigorous, to challenge New York's students to do more and to prepare them for life in the 21st Century," Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa said in a statement after the board's action at a Sept. 11 meeting of the Regents' P-12 Committee.

The board's action concludes a two-year process that relied heavily on the work of review and advisory teams made up of teachers, administrators and other education stakeholders, and on multiple opportunities for public input that drew more than 4,100 public comments, according to the State Education Department.

Much of the work crafting the new standards involved development of clearer guidance for teachers using the standards in their classrooms, according to educators who participated in the process. New standards documents also feature glossaries to help clarify the meaning of various terms that appear in the standards.

Standards for early childhood education were retooled to more clearly emphasize learning through play and to outline expectations that would be recognized as developmentally appropriate.

Other highlights include increased emphasis on helping students build lifelong reading and writing habits, merging now-separate reading standards for informational reading and literature, and increased use of standards that encourage students to "explore" math concepts without specific expectations of "mastery" at particular grade levels.

High school math standards now will be grouped by course (such as Algebra I, Geometry, and Algebra II) to reduce confusion when educators set expectations for each class and develop curriculum materials.

Commissioner Maryellen Elia stressed an expectation that the standards will be open to revisions and updates, as needed, in response to feedback from educators.

"Nothing should be written in stone," the commissioner told reporters after the Regents voted to adopt the new standards. "I don't think there's any question that there still are some things that we want to work on."

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