State Board rejects DOE proposal to review many academic standards immediately

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At the April 6, 2017 meeting of State Board of Education, the New Hampshire Department of Education sought approval for its proposed framework for reviewing all New Hampshire academic standards. The discussion is item V.D of the meeting agenda, “NHDOE Updated Process Map for Reviewing Academic Standards and Timeline for English Language Arts (ELA) and Math Revision.”  The department presented its “process map” and board member Bill Duncan presented a memorandum with concerns about the document.  (video here)

The staff presented the process map as a distillation of the process the board followed in adopting the science standards.  (Actually, they are quite different.)  The board was critical a number of key elements of the document.

The board did not agree that this standards review schedule was feasible or desirable.  Here is the schedule offered on the last page of the document:

NHDOE timeline for reviewing standardsBoard members said that they did not consider it necessary or feasible to review six major state academic standards in the next year.

They focused especially on the science standards, which they had just adopted on November 3, 2016 (not 2015 as shown above).  The board passed a resolution making clear that they would not revisit those standards until 2022.

The board also questioned several other elements of the process map, with members saying that:

  • the “Strategic Leadership Team” proposed in the document must be an advisory team to the board (vs. the department);
  • any standards revision should be done based on upfront public input on a standard-by-standard based via the web and public forums;
  • these would be standards revisions rather than rewrites (the commissioner agreed); and,
  • a psychometrician must be involved in the review of standards that would be the basis for statewide accountability assessments.

Board members said that, based on the agenda item and March board discussion, they had anticipated a full plan for reviewing the English Language Arts and math standards, including a timeline and budget.  They charged the department with presenting that plan at a future meeting.