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October 18, 2021
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JP O'Hare

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Carnegie Corporation of New York to Award State Education Department $500,000 Grant for Pilot Project to Complement Graduation Measures Review Work

Carnegie Corporation of New York will award the State Education Department a philanthropic grant of $500,000 to support a pilot project that will supplement research work related to the Department’s Graduation Measures Review initiative, Commissioner Betty A. Rosa announced today. The funding period is 2.5 years, with the acceptance of the grant being subject to a vote by the Board of Regents.

“All students must graduate from high school ready for college, career and civic engagement in order to be successful in life,” said Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr. “We are at a critical moment of possibility and we must work to ensure that all NYS students have access to the opportunities necessary for deeper and more meaningful learning in school. This will require that our state assessment strategy provide information on deeper and more meaningful learning. The Board of Regents thanks the Carnegie Corporation of New York for this significant grant."

“Too many of New York’s students – particularly our most vulnerable – are leaving high school without a diploma,” said Commissioner Rosa. “As Chancellor, I proposed rethinking our graduation measures and now as Commissioner of the Department, I am happy to spearhead this initiative. This important research will be critical in exploring the ways in which students can best demonstrate their readiness to graduate from high school and be successful in life. I am thankful for the funding from Carnegie to further support this truly worthwhile endeavor.”

“We are pleased to support the Board of Regents in this effort to better understand the value of the assessments that our students undergo and the impact these programs have on what is taught in a classroom and how it is presented,” said LaVerne Evans Srinivasan, Vice President of Carnegie Corporation of New York’s National Program. “In addition to the more traditional performance measures and graduation requirements that emphasize time spent on instruction, there is room for more authentic measurements of what students know and can do, including approaches that focus on project-based instruction and the cultivation of true competency.”

In February 2019, the Board of Regents and State Education Department committed to a thoughtful and inclusive review of the State high school graduation measures. The ultimate goal of this initiative is to reaffirm what it means to obtain a diploma in New York State and what that diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for all students in New York State.

The grant awarded by Carnegie Corporation of New York will support a pilot project to explore the potential for New York’s educational assessment system to be reimagined in a way that purposefully fosters high-quality instructional opportunities, provides authentic measures of deeper learning and better prepares students for college and the workplace.

While the specifics of the pilot design will be determined with expert guidance during the 2021-22 planning year, NYSED envisions that middle schools, high schools and potentially BOCES will be selected to establish pilot sites in different geographic regions. Participating schools will work together in networks to learn from one another and from partner schools that are already successfully implementing performance-based assessment to facilitate sustainable changes in school culture.

There are several promising school models in which performance-based assessment is a key component, including:

  • the International Baccalaureate, an international network which uses an inquiry-based pedagogical approach and assessments that measure students’ individual performance on specified objectives;
  • school networks that are implementing high-quality career and technical education (CTE); and
  • the New York Performance Standards Consortium, which uses performance-based assessments to determine student progress.

The Board and Department intend to explore whether these could serve as models for reimagining statewide diploma requirements to increase high school graduation rates while also better preparing students—especially disadvantaged students and students with disabilities—for success in college, career and the global economy.

The Department anticipates presenting proposed pilot regulations to the Board of Regents during the 2021-22 planning year that would allow participating districts and schools to grant Regents diplomas to students on the basis of multiple measures in the future. The Board will consider the findings of the pilot program as it contemplates potential changes to Graduation Measures in New York State in the coming years.

For additional information on the Graduation Measures initiative, visit the Department’s Graduation Measures website

About Carnegie Corporation of New York
Carnegie Corporation of New York was established by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to promote the advancement and diffusion of knowledge and understanding. In keeping with this mandate, the Corporation’s work focuses on the issues that Carnegie considered of paramount importance: education, international peace and a strong democracy. @CarnegieCorp