PJSTA member Melissa McMullan reports on her experience on the New York State Standard Review Committee…
The Cycle of Standards, Instruction and Assessment
“Pick battles big enough to matter, small enough to win.”
Today was the second day of the New York State Standard Review Committee. In total, sixty-eight people responded to my survey. This feedback is combined with a letter Stronger Together Caucus (ST Caucus) sent to the Board of Regents and the New York State Department of Education regarding the need for clear concise standards that included assessment limits for students and teachers. Once again, I sat with this feedback before me, as my grade level band and sub-group looked at specific standards.
We have been asked to refrain from sharing specific details of our work because right now it is all a work in progress. Ultimately, our recommendations will be made public for comment before these recommendations are brought to the Board of Regents (BOR) for review.
There are big ideas that are swirling around in my mind. I am eager for feedback from parents and colleagues.
First, as a society, what do we want the standards to do? I am genuinely curious about what people think of standards. What do they mean to people? What do we expect standards to accomplish?
Second, how do we ensure that assessment of progress toward reaching those standards remains directly connected with instruction? Do we seek a narrowing of standards that will streamline assessment? Do we maintain more holistic standards that leave more room for instructional freedom?
Finally, and most importantly, how much do we trust the teachers in our children’s classrooms? If we agree that standards, instruction and assessment are parts of a continuous cycle through which all learning takes place, then who do we trust to craft and implement these pieces?