In the last few years, social studies has taken a huge hit in states across America.
So any glimmer of hope–no matter how faint–is worth celebrating.
In late October, the New York State Education Department released a Notice of Intent informing testing companies and providers that the NYSED will be issuing a request for proposals for upcoming science tests in grades 4, 6 and 8 as well as a resurrected state social studies test in grades 6-8. According to the statement, the tests will be developed in the spring or summer of 2012, with field tests ready for 2013. The entire system is targeted for launch for the 2013-2014 school year.
A big kudos to New York’s Education Commissioner John King for addressing a major injustice done in 2010 for budgetary reasons. As followers of the Neighborhood are aware, the fifth and eighth grade social studies tests were suspended in 2010 due to financial constraints. When I wrote to then-Senior Deputy Commissioner King, he informed me there was no set timetable for these tests to return.
Although it is an initial step, this request for proposals is a definite step in the right direction.
Best of luck to Dr. King and the folks at Albany in creating authentic, rigorous assessments for middle schoolers in science and social studies. Hopefully, this will lead to an eventual re-instatement of an elementary level social studies test which is absolutely necessary.
That, however, remains for another day.