On Sept. 11, 2017, the Board of Regents adopted the Next Generation Learning Standards in English language arts (ELA) and mathematics. These standards replace the controversial Common Core Learning Standards and will be rolled out slowly over the next few years in order to provide adequate time for professional development and curriculum design.
The Next Generation Learning Standards detail what students should know and be able to do at each grade level; they do not require school districts to follow any specific curriculum.
The timeline for the rollout is as follows:
- 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years: The annual two-day assessments for ELA and math will continue to be based on the current (Common Core) standards; professional development for educators will be offered on Next Generation Learning Standards.
- September 2020: All schools will be required to fully implement the Next Generation Standards in all classroom instruction.
- Spring 2021: The state will release new annual assessments that measure student achievement on the Next Generation Standards. Tests will no longer be based on Common Core standards.
According to the New York State Education Department, the new learning standards clarify vague and/or confusing wording that appeared in the Common Core Learning Standards. For example, in the new ELA standards, reading expectations at each grade level have been described using language that’s easier for educators and parents to understand as compared with the language used in the Common Core Learning Standards. Changes in the math standards include moving some standards to different/more appropriate grade levels. In addition, the new high school-level math standards are listed under the actual course name (Algebra I, Geometry, Algebra II), rather than being arranged by grade level.
In addition, the Next Generation standards are intended to address criticisms that the previous (Common Core) standards were not appropriate for the youngest students, English language learners and students with disabilities. The State Education Department also created an early-learning standards introduction to provide more in-depth guidance on implementing the standards in grades pre-K through 2, including developmentally appropriate practices that encourage learning through play. This introduction also includes tips for working with such populations as students with disabilities, English language/multilingual learners and those with diverse cultural backgrounds.
The new standards are the result of a two-year collaborative revision process, during which more than 130 teachers, administrators, parents, higher education representatives and other stakeholders reviewed each (Common Core) standard and suggested modifications based on their own experiences and on public comments and additional reviews from researchers and content specialists.
The next steps in this process will include NYSED working with BOCES, teacher centers, etc. to design professional development opportunities for teachers to implement the new standards. The State Education Department also expects to develop communications tools for parents about the standards and additional educational resources focused on working with English language learners and students with disabilities.