Our Math Leadership Team had its final meeting of the year this week. We began with a brief review of K-12 highlights for the year, which led into a presentation and discussion of IXL, the online software program we use for educational practice, reinforcement, and enrichment for students in most math disciplines (the Pre-Calculus Module will be added for next year).
Director of Technology George Brady updated the team on New York State’s progress on implementing Computer Based Testing (CBT) for the ELA and Math assessments for grades 3-8 and provided insights on our in-house pilot of potential devices that could be used for this type of testing. As of this year, we decided not to participate in CBT for the state assessments.
This was the second year that New York State allowed districts to administer state exams using the CBT platform. Both years, many districts utilizing CBT experienced major issues, including student answers not being recorded or lost and login problems. The state’s plan was to mandate CBT for 2019-2020. However, Board of Regents Chancellor Betty Rosa is quoted as saying, “They can sign 10 letters of commitment and confidence, I have zero confidence in this small company that continues to have these major issues” in a recent The Daily Gazette article, Regents Not Pleased With Testing Company.
In South Orangetown, we are sticking with paper and pencil again for next year, but will continue to make sure our students have experience with taking online tests in a variety of formats. We discussed the different venues and types of technology we will implement to prepare students for Computer Based Testing. Last week at CLE, many of our students practiced for 30 minutes with a variety of devices (iPads with and without mice, Chromebooks, and desktops (Dells and Macs) and stylus pens) using the CBT Nexterra Questar system. Since this was the state’s practice platform, we experienced no technical issues. Students enjoyed working with the new online tools and the stylus pens. This platform does not yield any student results and is just for students to practice. The practice is intended to make students comfortable with the tool bar options, including using electronic highlighters.
The SOMS math team shared some of the materials and resources that were recently purchased for the new math program. The team has been researching math programs for more than a year and decided to purchase Reveal Math and Reveal Algebra, curricula fully aligned to New York State’s Next Generation Standards. The teachers shared that there is more room for students to work and write in their consumable books, better scaffolding for lessons, and online software resources for students and parents, including ALEKS, our online math program to include significant improvements. The program allows teachers to assign Individual lessons and activities, and homework that can be modified and differentiated to individual student needs.
We concluded by breaking off into elementary and secondary teams to discuss the alignment of units to the District calendar, as well as beginning to plan for the updates of the next phase in of Next Generation Math Learning Standards. We look forward to our time together for the 2019-2020 school year and are hopeful for a snow-free September, since we plan to conduct math leadership sessions with inter-class and inter-school visits.
Written by Shannon Bogart and Marisa Premus, Elementary and Secondary Instructional Math Coaches