• 19 June 2024
Here’s what you need to know about New York’s revamped Common Core Standards

Here’s what you need to know about New York’s revamped Common Core Standards

Sep 04, 2019

Since late 2017, New York has been in the process of shifting away from Common Core, opting instead to revise its standards for Math and English Language Arts to a new set of guidelines called “Next Generation Learning Standards.” They’re slated to roll out in 2020, and new testing begins in early 2021. Use this guide to navigate the changes ahead.


New York was one of the first states to fully embrace Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and the state’s students began taking Common Core tests a full two years before students in most other states started. But it was no smooth rollout. Parents routinely decried Common Core, particularly when it came to math. Shortly after CCSS testing began, one parent in New York said of her children: "They're coming home frustrated, angry, upset." Another parent told The Mercury News that some of the math diagrams are “insane.”

It was so controversial that in 2014 and 2015, 20 percent of students opted out of exams. The next year, the state did away with time limits, and then in June of 2017, it cut the number of days of testing from six days to three days for grades 3 through 8. The biggest changes came in September 2017, when New York voted to revise the standards and drop the Common Core moniker altogether.

Which brings us to the present The “Next Generation Learning Standards”(NGLS)—launching in September 2020—are the result of two years of review and revision by 130 teachers, parents, administrators, and other specialists throughout the state.

So, What Are the Changes?

They are both minor and major. Math and English Language Arts updates range from simple wording changes to entirely eliminating or redefining some standards. (For example: CCSS separated reading for information and reading for literature. The NGLS, recognizing that they inform each other, combines the two.)

In math, certain trigonometry standards shifted away from geometry and placed in Algebra 2; some probability and statistics standards for middle-graders have moved from one grade to another; some standards that students experienced in multiple grades were excised from one; and kindergarten gained standards on pattern recognition and coin money.

Early childhood education has been given a renewed emphasis on play and curiosity rather than rote learning. The new standards also underscore the need for “developmentally appropriate” curriculum, and flexibility for students who aren’t ready to tackle certain standards.

Other changes are simple clarifications, which can seem like tedium but taken together can have a major impact on how students experiences topics. For example, a Common Core geometry standard stated that students be able to “prove theorems about lines and angles,” whereas New York’s new standards read that students must “prove and apply theorems about lines and angles,” and also lists the specific theorems students must be able to apply.

For some, the changes can’t come soon enough. Common Core’s standards have frustrated parents for years, even driving some to homeschool their children. By the time teachers begin teaching the new standards, they’ll have had three full years to train around them and develop new curricula.

The Devil Is in the Detail

The New York State Education Department’s website offers “crosswalk documents” for readers to compare the hundreds changes the state has made to the instruction and curriculum standards for Mathematics and English Language Arts.

Parents interested in better understanding the changes that their children will face can find the details in the crosswalk documents, broken down for each grade. The Common Core standards are listed in a column on the left, and the new standards are described in the column to the right.

Opportunities for Parents

Changes in learning standards inevitably bring along with them confusion and unfamiliarity. Luckily, there are tutors who have familiarized themselves with the new standards, and have developed a grounded understanding in the changes to ensure their students can get off to a running start as the new standards roll out.

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