Next Generation Learning Standards Information

  • The New York State Education Department approved the Next Generation Learning Standards as the grade level standards for all New York public schools. The Fredonia Central School District began the transition to these standards in 2010. 

    We have created a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding these changes and provided answers that we hope will correct any misinformation that may cause anxiety and frustration among students, parents, and teachers.  Additional information regarding the Next Generation Standards Initiative can also be found here.

    We do want to encourage all of our parents to become active participants in their child’s education. Please feel free to contact any building principal, the Director of Instruction, or the Superintendent to ask questions relating to curriculum, instruction and assessments.

    1.    Do parents have the right to have their child refuse to take the Next Generation Standards aligned assessments?

    We want to encourage all of our parents to have their children take the ELA and math assessments. While testing has become an integral part of students’ education at every level, we recognize the concerns some of you may have about the upcoming testing and want to not only alleviate any fears your child may have, but also any concerns you may have about the use of these assessments in placement or grading.

    We do not use these assessments as a sole determination in any type of program placement.   We simply look at them as another measure of performance in addition to the many other valuable measures.  Each child is unique; we look at the whole child in school, not the individual performance on any single assessment.  We certainly do not want any of our students to refuse or to stay home to avoid taking one of these tests for fear of failure. 

    The Next Generation Learning Standards adopted by the New York State Board of Regents emphasize critical thinking, careful reading of fiction and non-fiction, writing with evidence, effective communication of ideas, and real-world problem solving in mathematics.  We do want to encourage all of our parents to become active participants in their child’s education.  Parents have the opportunity to contact the building principals, the Director of Instruction, or the Superintendent to ask questions relating to curriculum, instruction and assessments.

    Additionally, parents are a part of each building's Site Based Team.  In the elementary school, yearly surveys go out to parents from the Site Based Team regarding curriculum and instruction.  All Site Based Team meetings are open to the general public.

    District administrators and the Board of Education have made a concerted effort to gather these questions and concerns and discuss them with our local legislatures, BOCES District Superintendent, and the New York State Education Department.  

    2.    What are the Next Generation Learning Standards?  

    The Next GenerationLearning Standards are a set of grade level standards designed to ensure that all students are college and career ready in English language arts and math no later than the end of high school.  We use these standards as a guide as we measure the educational growth in students.  Prior to the Next Generation Learning Standards, we used the 1995 New York State Learning Standards to measure student educational growth in all subject areas.  All of the grades 3 to 8 and Regents assessments were based on these standards. 

    The decision to implement the Next Generation Learning Standards was made by New York State for all public school districts within the state.  Each district decides how to implement these standards.  

    3.    Do standards really improve instruction?

    Standards provide our teachers with a set of clear expectations for each grade level.  Our teachers use these standards as the basis for their grade level curriculum and instruction.  Our teachers have the professional ability to create unique and creative lessons to meet each grade level standard.   

    Standards allow students to progress from one grade to the next with the skills necessary to be successful.  They also enable a student who transfers into or out of our district the consistency between districts that will enable him or her to be successful.  Finally, standards ensure a consistency in skills covered by all districts so students will be adequately prepared for college and careers upon graduation.

    4.    How were the standards developed?

    The Next Generation Learning Standards were the result of the 2015 state law requirement that the Common Core Standards be reassessed with stakeholder input. The revised standards were developed by more than 130 educators and parents over a two-year process. The review committees included 94 teachers, 21 administrators, three library media specialists, four college professors and 16 parents. No testing companies were involved in the standards revision sessions.

    Committies reviewed more than 4,100 public comments and considered extensive feedback from experts in child development, English language learners, and students with disabilities. Committees went standard-by-standard, grade-by-grade. Some learning standards were thrown out, others were merged, and some standards were moved to different grade levels. An Early Learning Standards Task Force with 30 educators and parents issued a set of pre-K to grade 2 recommendations, such as inicorporating "play" as an instructional strategy.

    The New York Board of Regents adoped the new Next Generation Learning Standards on September 11, 2017. Additional information regarding the developement process and the standards can be found here

    5.    Will the Next Generation Learning Standards lead to more standardized testing and expansion of testing to K-2?

    No.  However, the Next Generation Learning Standards based assessments will be different than the previous New York State Common Core Learning Standards-based assessments.  These new tests will reflect the changes, or “shifts,” in the standards.  These assessments, along with multiple other measures, are used to help identify those students who might need extra support to successfully move on to the next grade level.  These scores are not used for the promotion or retention of students.

    There has never been standardized testing in Kindergarten, grade 1 or grade 2.  The Fredonia Central School District would not support any changes in testing that would include these grade levels.

    6.    Does the Common Core promote creativity in the classroom in both teaching as well as learning?

    The Next Generation Learning Standards are a set of grade level expectations for teachers to use to develop appropriate instructional lessons and to measure student growth.  In addition to adopting the Next Generation Learning Standards, New York State is also releasing sets of grade level curricular modules for districts to use to meet the learning standards.  The Fredonia Central School District is in the process of adapting these modules to create active and engaging grade level instructional lessons.

    Our teachers bring a wealth of personal experience and expertise to the classroom environment that helps to better engage students in day-to-day learning.  In choosing to adapt the curriculum modules, our teachers are given the freedom to personalize the curriculum with their interests and strengths.

    7.    Is there flexibility within the Next Generation Learning Standards to provide differentiated learning for advanced and gifted students, students with disabilities, or English language learners?

    We have chosen to adapt the New York State provided grade level modules to best fit the needs of our students and teachers.  Our teachers modify the lessons to meet the specific needs of the children in their classes.  There is a clear guide for applying the standards to students with disabilities and to English language learners.

    The adapted curriculum modules based on the Next Generation Learning Standards are a work in progress.  We continue to study and revise them to best meet the needs of all of our students.  

    8.    Do the standards-based assessments provide an accurate measure of student growth?

    We do not believe that the performance on a single assessment will tell the whole story about what a child knows and can do.  We do believe that every child is unique.  The state assessments are designed to help us as a district to identify what we are doing well and what we need to do to improve.  These assessments, along with multiple other measures, are used to help identify those students who might need extra support to successfully move on to the next grade level.

    We use several different methods to assess student growth.  In the elementary school, we use AIMSweb to measure student growth in ELA and math. In the middle school, we utilize STAR Reading and STAR Math.   The high school currently uses midterm and final exams as a measure of student progress in Regents courses.  We provide Response to Intervention (RTI) and Academic Intervention Services (AIS) for any child who may be struggling with ELA or math.  Our goal is to quickly identify specific areas of need and determine the necessary intervention that will help the student succeed.

    9.    What do the new assessment questions look like?  Is it possible to see an actual test prior the assessment date?

    Each year, a portion of questions from the actual test will be released. For each question, an explanation is provided of why the wrong answers are wrong and why the right answers are right.  For questions that require students to write or solve problems, samples of graded student work are provided.  

    Sample questions can be found here.  

    10.    How does Fredonia use the grade 3 to 8 student assessment scores?

    The district uses multiple measures to determine the effectiveness of its academic programs.  The assessment scores are one of these measures we use to help us evaluate our educational and instructional program.  These results identify the general areas in the English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics, science, and social studies Next Generation Learning Standards where our students do well and need to improve.

    Additionally, by comparing our results to similar districts, it helps us to evaluate our programs and find strengths and weaknesses in our instruction. We make these areas of need a priority in our district’s Professional Development Plan to help provide appropriate training for our teachers.  Although the grade 3 to 8 assessments are considered secure exams, the New York State Education Department (NYSED) will release a portion of the grade 3 to 8 assessment questions for teachers and administrators to review.  These help us to better understand the style of questions and the rigor of the subject matter.

    We do not use the scores to promote or retain students from one grade level to another.  In fact, we typically receive the final assessment student scores in late summer, well after the time that students are placed in their classrooms for the upcoming school year.  The scores only tell us what performance level (Level 1, 2, 3, or 4) a student has reached on the assessment. These performance levels simply confirm what we already know about the academic progress of our students.

     11.    How does the New York State Education Department use the grade 3 to 8 assessment scores?

    The assessment scores are used by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) to calculate a “student performance” score for teachers of ELA and math in grades 3 to 8.  This score is then used for one part of these teacher’s final evaluation score. Additionally, building principals for grades 3 to 8 and 9 to 12 also receive this type of “student performance” score that is also used as a part of their administrative final evaluation score.  

    The assessment scores are used to create the district and building level New York State Report Cards.  The New York State Report card is a report that summarizes all of a district or building’s assessment measures.  It includes enrollment records, staffing information, grades 3 to 8 ELA and math performance scores, grade 4 and 8 science scores, and Regents results.  The Report Card also now contains the statewide results on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) for grade 4 and 8 reading and mathematics.  The assessment scores found in the New York State Accountability Report are used to determine Performance Indices (PIs) and make Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) determinations which are used to assist in identifying districts and schools as Reward, Focus, and Priority.

    In accordance with federal and State laws, the New York State Education Department must determine and report on the performance of students in the following areas:

    1. Elementary/middle-level (grades 3 -8) English Language Arts (ELA)
    2. Elementary/middle-level (grades 3-8) Mathematics
    3. Elementary/middle-level (grades 4 and 8) Science
    4. Secondary-level (grades 9-12) ELA
    5. Secondary-level (grades 9-12) Mathematics
    6. Graduation Rate

    Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) indicates satisfactory progress by a district or a school toward the goal of proficiency for all students.  In ELA, mathematics, and science AYP is determined by comparing the percentage of students tested and the performance of tested students against defined standards.  In graduation rate, AYP is determined by comparing the percentage of students graduating against defined standards.

    In ELA and mathematics, 95% of students in each accountability group with 40 or more members must be tested to meet the participation criterion.  In science, 80% must be tested.

    In ELA and mathematics, a calculated measure of performance called the Performance Index (PI) for each accountability group with 30 or more members must equal or exceed a preset objective called an Effective Annual Measurable Objective (EAMO) or a safety net objective called a Safe Harbor Target.  In science, the criterion for performance is the same but the safety net is referred to as a Progress Target.

    Districts and schools must meet both the participation and performance criteria for all groups with sufficient numbers to make AYP.

    12.    Are the grade 3 to 8 assessment scores used by anyone or anything else?

    The assessment scores are published annually by the local news media.  The Dunkirk Observer, Jamestown Post Journal, and The Buffalo News will print student test results for community members to see how children from all local school districts perform on the state assessments.

    Additionally, Business First, a Buffalo news magazine, uses the assessment scores to annually rank all Western New York school districts in various academic and athletic categories.  The Fredonia Central School District does not use these results to evaluate any aspect of the district’s instructional or athletic program. 

    13.    Will the Next Generation Learning Standards change the Regents exams in the high school?

    There is a fundamental difference between the grade 3 to 8 assessments and the high school Regents exams:  the 3 to 8 assessments are meant to measure how students are progressing from one grade to the next, while the high school Regents exams are graduation requirements.  This means that to earn a high school diploma, students need to successfully pass at least five Regents exams during their time in high school.

    In order to graduate high school with a Regents Diploma, students will have to pass the Next Generation Learning Standards-based Algebra exam, English Language Arts exam, one science Regents exam (physical science or living environment), one Global History Regents exam, and one US History Regents exam. Students who want to earn an Advanced Regents Diploma have to take an additional second language requirement, an additional science Regents exam (physical science or living environment) and the Next Generation aligned Algebra 2 Trigonometry exam.