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NYS Test Scores Inch Up

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The results of this year’s Common Core-related standardized tests show scores for New York’s schoolchildren inching up.  About one-fifth of the children boycotted the tests altogether because of continued controversy over the Common Core learning standards. State Education Commissioner Mary Ellen Elia said she’s pleased with the progress made in the 2017 test results. While scores improved by nearly 2 percent from last year, the results show that only about 40 percent of students in grades three through eight are considered proficient in English and math. Elia said she’s keeping her eye on the big picture and trying to see the positive in the results. “We are on a trajectory of moving forward and upward,” Elia said.

Making Sense of Money

In fourth grade, your child will use the four operations to solve word problems involving money. In order to do this, she will first learn to decompose, or break apart, one dollar into smaller units. We call these units: quarters, dimes, nickels, and pennies. Ask your child: How many quarters make up one dollar? How many quarters make up two dollars?

Decomposing Fractions

To decompose means to break apart. Your child has already decomposed whole numbers with number bonds, tape diagrams, and place value charts. In fourth grade, he will decompose fractions. Three-eighths is a fraction. We can decompose three-eighths into parts using a tape diagram as the visual model.

Units of Measure

In fourth grade, your child will use the metric system to measure length, mass, and capacity. Length refers to the measurement of something from end to end. Long lengths are called distance. Mass refers to the measure of the amount of matter in an object. Capacity refers to the maximum amount that something can contain, commonly called volume.

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NY Ed Commish Reports Progress On New Standards As Exam Boycotts Continue

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New York state’s education commissioner said Tuesday that new state-specific learning standards will offer several improvements over the controversial Common Core standards.  Commissioner MaryEllen Elia’s report came on a day when large numbers of students in some parts of the state were expected to once again boycott the required third- through eighth-grade math tests. Elia said the timing was pure coincidence. “This is about standards,” said Elia. “This is not about opt-out.” The education department has been working on developing the new standards since late 2015. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who initially supported the controversial fast-tracking of Common Core, issued a report in December of that year. It recommended slowing things down and carefully revamping the unpopular Common Core standards.

Partial Products

When your child first learns to multiply two two-digit numbers, she will use the area model. This visual tool illustrates how to decompose numbers and find four different products. As her skills improve, she will move from this pictorial model into a concrete method called partial products. Using partial products to solve forty-three times fifty-six, looks like this. She will start by multiplying tens times tens.

Area Model

When first learning to multiply two two-digit numbers your child will use the area model. To start, your child will use her knowledge of place value to decompose into tens and ones. To decompose means to break apart. Let’s decompose these numbers by the value of each digit. The value of two tens is twenty.

Multiplication Fluency

Your child’s introduction to multiplication is through repeated addition. He will draw an array to visualize, or see, five groups of four stars. He will count the stars and find the total. As his understanding improves, he will skip count to find the total more efficiently. Your child will use a variety of visual models, to represent multiplication as he works toward developing multiplication fluency.

Rounding: Nearest 10 or 100

Learning to assess the reasonableness of an answer is an important mathematical skill. It’s your child’s way of seeing if she’s on the right track when problem solving. Sometimes we use rounding to estimate a solution. In third grade, your child will round whole numbers using a vertical number line and round to the nearest ten or to the nearest hundred. Let’s round seven-hundred sixty-two to the nearest hundred.

Solving 2-Step Word Problems

In third grade, your child will solve two-step word problems using addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Let’s try one: There were ten adults and five children at the movies. Each adult ticket costs $8.00 and each child ticket costs $3.00. What is the total cost of all the tickets? What is this question asking us to find?