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Nassau BOCES procures state grant to help Nassau County schools improve testing

Nassau BOCES has procured a $300,000 grant to help eight local school districts reevaluate their current assessments. The “Teaching is the Core” grant funds a yearlong initiative for 2014-15 that includes scientific analysis, strategic planning and professional development.

As part of the grant, Nassau BOCES will use a longitudinal study aimed at reducing or eliminating unnecessary pre-assessments. The agency will work closely with each district, conducting a comprehensive review of assessment and strategies, with the goal of determining which local assessments best serve the district’s instructional goals, supporting the use of high-quality assessments and eliminating assessments where possible.

An essential tool to achieving this goal is professional development. To that end, Nassau BOCES will hold seven professional development days throughout the school year, for a minimum of 32 educators per session (including both teachers and administrators). Educators will evaluate the various types of assessment in use, determine their effectiveness and value, and refine the assessments to better measure student performance. Assessments will be reviewed to ensure they meet the rigorous requirements of the Common Core Learning Standards, as well as fundamental educational benchmarks, such as Bloom’s Taxonomy and Webb’s Depth of Knowledge.

“The grant is aimed at reducing and eliminating non-essential testing,” said Dr. Valerie D’Aguanno, Assistant Director for the Nassau BOCES Department of Curriculum, Instruction and Technology. “The goal is to analyze testing to identify what works and eliminate what doesn't. Professional development is a big part of it. Educators are constantly assessing their students using a variety of methods. We want to engage in a dialogue about the various ways to help students achieve and positively progress forward.” Nassau BOCES procures state grant to help Nassau County schools improve testing