Q. What tests do my children attending public school need to take?
A. The NY State Education Department requires that all students in grades 3-8 take state tests in the areas of Mathematics and English. 4th and 8th graders take a science exam as well.
Q. What does the test work to measure?
A. According to the Board of Education, “in spring 2013, students in grades 3–8 took State English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests aligned to the Common Core standards for the first time. The results of the new State tests will provide baseline information about where our students are on their path to college and career readiness. Identifying and addressing the gap between what the standards demand and what students know and are able to do is at the heart of what we aim to accomplish as a system.”
Q. What is the Common Core standard?
A. New York State adopted the Common Core Standards in July 2010 and it is to serve to set a more direct set of standards that students must meet to become more prepared for high school and college. The Common Core State Standards are fewer, clearer, and higher than most general state standards, and include rigorous content and application of knowledge through higher order skills.
Q. How has the curriculum and material changed since the shift to the Common Core standard?
A. In math, concepts are focused in on more deeply as opposed to broadly. With a deepened understanding, students are able to go within and across grades so that they can continuously build new concepts onto sturdy foundations. In the ELA portion, students are required to build knowledge through content-rich nonfiction and informational text. They also build skills in ability to read and write using evidence from the text while practicing advanced vocabulary and text.
Q. How has the test specifically changed?
A. According to the Board of Ed:
Requiring students to engage with a 50/50 split of literary and informational text
Responses to prompts that are more text-dependent
35% of prompts will require students to convey an opinion/argue, 35% to explain, and 30% to convey experience
Concepts may be assessed at different grade levels from when they have been assessed in the past. For example, the new grade five tests will include more items assessing fractions and no items assessing probability and statistics
Assessments will include more questions that require students to take multiple steps in order to solve them
Questions that in the past have focused on testing mathematical vocabulary will instead require students to apply skills based on their understanding of that vocabulary
Questions using tools like rulers or protractors will include prompts that require students to both choose the appropriate tool and apply mathematical concepts in using the tool.
Q. How do you prepare your students?
A. 2013-14 Courses Available (most effective if taken in order listed):
- 2013 Summer 8-wk Semester: July 1–Aug. 29, Mon.-Thurs., 9:00am–1:45pm
- 2013–14 Fall Saturday 32-wk Semester: Sept. 14 –June 6, 9:00am–2:45pm
- 2013 5-day ELA Crash Course: Dec. 23–31, 10:00am–2:30pm
- 2014 15-week Mini-Course: Jan. 7–April 24, Tues. –Thur., 3:50pm–5:50pm
- 2014 5-day Crash Course: Feb. 17–21, 10:00am–4:30pm