The New York State Education Department not only developed a new framework for Social Studies instruction five years ago but had also developed a new format for both the Global History and Geography Regents exam and the United States History & Government Regents exam.
We have yet to see the initial administration of the US exam, but that has not prevented teachers from preparing students for this new assessment format and structure.
Change can be difficult at any time and in any profession, but in education having multiple changes simultaneously can be extremely overwhelming. However, the combination of changes has brought an opportunity to review and revise social studies curriculum across multiple grade levels. One district that has spent time focusing on these changes and developing assessments that align to the content and the format of the state changes has been the Pioneer Central School District.
This month teachers at Pioneer worked to conduct assessment analysis of state administered assessments and assessments they had used in the past.
They examined ways in which they could both replicate the format and performance expectations though modifying their assessment structure and creating items that were uitl uses the NYS Task Models for assessment.
Utilizing a stimulus source, constructing the language to reflect that of the Task Models from NYS, and modifying the format of assessments, teachers were able to develop questions and tasks that prepared students for what they will eventually see in the form of assessment as they enter High School.
Spending time doing this type of curriculum development and assessment building work not only enhances the professional practice and understanding of the teachers involved but allows them to prepare the students for what they will be asked to accomplish when they are assessed in the future.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
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