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Meeting of the Board of Regents | November 2003

Saturday, November 1, 2003 - 8:00am




The Honorable the Members of the Board of Regents


James A. Kadamus




Implementation of Math A Panel Recommendations and the Math Initiative


November 5, 2003




Implementation of Regents Policy


Goals 1 and 2



The attached report describes actions being taken by the Department to implement the recommendations of the Math A Panel.




Actions to Implement the Major Recommendations of the Math A Panel

At your October meeting, you agreed to accept the recommendations of the Math A Panel. These recommendations consist of both long-term and short-term actions.

A number of key actions were taken prior to the presentation of the Math A Panel report:

  1. We have begun the process of instituting new procedures to improve the size and representativeness of the field test sample, heighten student motivation, increase data on performance of the same students on field tests and operational tests, and provide data matching performance on the field and operational tests for a sample of students.

  2. Administrative staff members were added to the Office of State Assessment. In addition we are seeking to add more subject area staff through requests for hiring waivers from the Division of the Budget and using consultants for psychometric expertise.

  1. We now conduct whole test reviews by teachers before any Regents exam is administered.  This process was used in August and resulted in no post-test errata on the Regents examination.  The process will now become standard practice for all Regents examinations and we have recruited a number of new teachers to be involved in this process. 

In addition, in response to the recommendations of the Math A Panel, we will take these actions, to be completed by June 2006: 

1.   Convene a Mathematics Standards Committee to revise the mathematics standards to make them clearer, more tightly focused on the essential knowledge and skills, and easier to apply in the classroom.  This committee should begin its work in December 2003.

2.   After reviewing the work of the Standards Committee, appoint a Mathematics Curriculum Committee, which will include members of the Mathematics Standards Committee, to ensure consistency. Their work will include a review of existing grade-by-grade K-12 mathematics curricula.

3.   Develop a new Regents Mathematics A examination that will benefit from improved field-testing and equating methods. This examination will be appropriate for the typical student after one year of high school mathematics, as defined in the standards, and is scheduled to be first administered in June 2006. 

4. Implement a system of mathematics training for teachers.  Student performance in elementary and intermediate mathematics has shown some improvement. A statewide mathematics initiative will be implemented building on successful Math Institutes in New York City, best curriculum and instruction in schools, and best teacher training models. This initiative will bring together resources from EMSC and VESID to ensure both general and special education students get enriched mathematics instruction. The following are the components of the mathematics initiative:

  • Establish a statewide Mathematics Resource Center to conduct research in mathematics in collaboration with school districts and BOCES. This research will identify core knowledge that teachers need in mathematics, which will be incorporated into professional development opportunities. The Center will also recruit and train a network of teachers of mathematics throughout the State to disseminate core knowledge in mathematics.
  • Disseminate core knowledge, curriculum and instructional practices through the New York State Virtual Learning Space and through the best practices program model. Grade-by-grade curricula will be part of the materials disseminated.
  • Increase professional development for teachers through regional and school-based training coordinated by the Regional and New York City School Support Centers using the New York State Virtual Learning Space and best practices information on mathematics from the statewide Math Resource Center.
  • Distribute $7.3 million in Math and Science Partnership grants under NCLB to high need school districts in partnership with higher education institutions to provide expert mathematics resources to those schools and to better prepare future teachers in mathematics core knowledge and practices.


Until those long-term changes are made (scheduled to be completed by June 2006), the Mathematics A examination will be reconfigured as follows, beginning with the January 2004 administration:

Current Format

Format from January 2004 Through Implementation of a New Examination

Part I (multiple-choice)

20 questions

Part I (multiple-choice)

30 questions

Part II (open ended � maximum of 2 points per question)

5 questions

Part II (open ended � maximum of 2 points per question)

5 questions

Part III (open ended � maximum of 3 points per question)

5 questions

Part III (open ended � maximum of 3 points per question)

2 questions

Part IV (open ended � maximum of 4 points per question)

5 questions

Part IV (open ended � maximum of 4 points per question)

2 questions

This reformatting of the examination will result in changes in the test specifications that were provided to schools in the spring 1998 Test Sampler Draft. Immediately following the October Regents meeting, we provided districts with a comparison of the current and revised test specifications. We do not believe that this reformatting should require significant changes in instruction or test preparation, since the content covered by the assessment remains the same.

We have selected a test form for the January 2004 administration, including the additional 10 multiple-choice questions. A committee of practitioners will review this new form in November. Subsequent to this review, four members of the Math A panel will review the examination. Once final editing has occurred, small teams of teachers, not previously involved with the development of the Mathematics A examination, will review the Mathematics A examination and all other Regents examinations, consistent with the procedures instituted in August 2003.

Before the Mathematics A examination is administered, we will do preliminary work to establish a score conversion table. Based on input from the Math A Panel and key staff subsequent to the September report to the Board, we have decided that this table will not be finalized or shipped to schools with the examination materials. Instead, we will validate the scores using a process developed with the assistance of a vendor. The vendor will perform the following tasks for the Regents Mathematics A examination in January, and one or two examinations in June:

  • In consultation with Department staff, design a scannable answer document for the operational examination.

  • Distribute answer documents and directions prepared by the Department to selected schools; include return envelopes for overnight delivery by a shipper with tracking. Selected schools will be required to participate in this process and will be expected to return their scannable answer documents to the vendor within 48 hours of administration of the examination.
  • Prepare and scan answer documents; develop data file in layout specified by the Department; and submit an electronic file within 72 hours of answer documents arriving at vendor.

  • Within 48 hours of the data file being received by the Department, we will analyze the performance of the test items and either confirm or adjust the score conversion tables, again with the assistance of a committee of experts. The conversion table will then be posted on the web and all schools will be notified of its availability.