Public Comment Notice - Grade Level Standards, English Language Arts and Mathematics
Dear Colleagues, The curriculum frameworks for English language arts (2001) and mathematics (2000) contain standards written for two-year grade spans, such as 3-4 and 5-6. We currently have MCAS tests for English language arts at grades 3, 4, 7, and 10 and for mathematics at grades 4, 6, 8, and 10 based on these standards. The No Child Left Behind Act, however, requires annual testing at each grade from grades 3 through 8 in both reading and mathematics beginning in 2005-2006. Therefore our staff, working with committees of teachers, have drafted standards for grades 3, 5, and 7 in these subjects. We are not changing the curriculum frameworks, since the existing standards will remain the same, but rather providing detailed guidance about the learning expected at each grade level and the content of future grade-level assessments.
Teachers from more than 20 urban, rural, and suburban districts worked with Department staff during the spring and summer of 2003 to draft grade level expectations for grades 3, 5, and 7 from the existing two-year standards for grades 3-4, 5-6, and 7-8. The essential content in the Massachusetts English Language Arts Curriculum Framework and the Massachusetts MathematicsCurriculum Framework remains unchanged. In seeking public comment we areasking educators if we have met the goal of providing more explicit guidancefor local school districts and a solid basis for the new grade 3-8 assessments. It is our hope that the grade level standards will go beyond meeting the requirement of NCLB and create an effective teaching and learning resource for standards-based curriculum.
Educators in all of our schools and in educator preparation programs have a crucial role to play in judging the clarity and usefulness of these draft standards and suggesting ways in which they may be strengthened. I encourage you to review and respond to the draft grade level standards in English language arts and mathematics by using the online form found on our website at http://www.doe.mass.edu/frameworks/updates.html until November 25, 2003. A final draft of the grade 3, 5, and 7 standards, revised to reflect your comments, will be presented to the Board of Education for discussion in January 2004.
Thank you for your help in this important step in education reform for Massachusetts.