New York Testimonials

  • I use the Jigsaw Rubric in my Math Class for problem solving and love it! Makes students more accountable for their learning and affords them to see where and what they need to improve on.

    J. Gordon, Elementary Teacher, NY

    I am determined to improve in math. The years I used Exemplars with fidelity my scores jumped tremendously; teachers actually assessed and enjoyed the art of teaching and students were always self assessing.

    Nyree Dixon, Principal, NY

    Going into September there were no illusions about how difficult it would be to introduce teachers to a new set of materials, familiarize them with the assessment tasks, learn how to use the Exemplars rubric, and, in the case of New York City teachers, begin to create additional performance tasks for their students to meet the DOE requirements. Our idea was to create a team to share the work: the three ISA math coaches, two staff members from NCREST and five New York City math teachers who regularly practiced inquiry in their classrooms. In a "train-the-trainers" model of professional development, our team worked with Aldo Bianchi from Exemplars in July to identify which performance task to administer to students first ("Tina's Quilt Squares") and how to introduce it to teachers. During one session in late August and another in mid-September, the team introduced Exemplars to the 46 New York City math teachers. The responses were overwhelmingly positive; teachers liked "Tina's Quilt Squares," the resource CD and the focus on problem solving. In early October we brought Aldo back to run a scoring conference where the teachers closely examined the Exemplars rubric and then applied it to samples of student work from "Tina's Quilt Squares" in advance of scoring their own students' work.

    The response from teachers was again very positive; teachers enjoyed looking at students' problem-solving skills and discussing the sample papers with one another. It was a good start, but we are still pursuing a deeper goal - to support teachers' practice of inquiry-based instruction. This means, in part, working with teachers to learn about what makes a good performance task, how to revise performance tasks and how to create their own. To plan for this work, we brought Aldo to New York City again in late October to work with our team and with three teachers. These three teachers were our "focus group" as we experimented with different approaches to support creating tasks. After an intensive four-hour session, the two 9th-grade teachers collaborated to draft a task dealing with inequalities. The 10th-grade teacher, after taking time to identify what is most important for students to learn about triangles, drafted a task that asked to students to design various roofs for doghouses, and in doing so, generalize rules about the relationship between sides and angles. By the end, our 10th-grade teacher remarked, "This is good. Why haven't I been doing this all along?

    At the start of November, we brought together all the New York City 9th-grade teachers in preparation for their second assessment administration. Over the course of six hours, the teachers worked in small groups clustered around the same topics in algebra. Some identified problems from the Exemplars "Best of Secondary" resource CD and then revised the tasks to fit into their upcoming curriculum; others started from scratch and created tasks that employed the key concepts they want students to learn. Our ISA/NCREST team circulated to facilitate groups, make suggestions and ask questions to prompt further discussion.

    It was a long day, one that we will repeat in late November with 10th-grade teachers, but it was well worth the effort. Teachers were discussing not only content and skills but algebraic concepts and problem-solving strategies that are key components of inquiry instruction in math. Our New York City teachers took another step along the path of preparing students for college, and now we're working to take that step with teachers in Atlanta, Baton Rouge, Buffalo and other school systems partnering with ISA.

    Charlie Tocci, Research Associate - NCREST
  • Our school subscribes to the Exemplars Library. I find the formative tasks aligned to the Common Core are strong and can be easily embedded in any curriculum. Having a more accessible and more challenging version of each task provides teachers' support as they have the resources to problem solve across different levels of understanding in their classrooms. Both the teachers and administrators appreciate the Preliminary Planning Sheet and use this work to inform their instruction and support classroom observations. The summative tasks with detailed rationales make it possible for teachers to become confident in applying the criteria of the rubric and assessing student work accurately. Students are enjoying the tasks and are demonstrating a deeper understanding of the underlying concepts of the standards as they apply formal math language, accurate representations and connections. We are feeling positive that by embedding the Exemplars problem-solving tasks in our instruction and assessment we will see improved results in our state testing.

    C. Hemley, Principal, NY

    Teachers are thrilled to have so many real-world tasks at their finger tips that are grouped by specific Common Core Standards. It is apparent that Exemplars gave a great deal of thought and consideration when designing this resource - it is intuitive and incredibly well organized. And most importantly, Problem Solving for the Common Core provides the rich learning opportunities for students that we were looking for.

    E. Havlik, Principal, NY

    Embedding Common Core aligned Exemplars tasks into our units of study has strengthened teachers understanding of the Common Core Learning Standards while improving student performance. Significant growth in student achievement has taken place across the grades in the Mathematical Practices ... even our youngest students do the work of real mathematicians to represent and solve authentic real-world problems.

    T. Appel Peterson, CFN 612, NY
  • I have been using the math Exemplars K-8 for the past 6 years. I am a former NYC Math Coach, and I have seen Exemplars improve my students Mathematics skills and thinking

    D. Jones, Assistant Principal, NY

    If you are a student at our school, you will have heard the term, Exemplars. Exemplars are extended tasks in which 6th graders work in cooperative groups to plan strategies and find solutions. Initially, students are presented with a particular mathematical situation and asked to brainstorm individual strategies for "attacking" such a problem.

    Our students have been preparing early for the new 8th grade state assessments by working diligently on Exemplars tasks.

    The 6th graders recently completed the Exemplars "Mary Quite Contrary: How Does Your Garden Grow?" Students were grouped in teams and given a large sheet of poster paper on which they planned a strategy. Students were directed to map out all ideas on this paper whether in picture or words...

    Anonymous, NY

    I find your samples and your rubrics very useful in my consulting work with teaching teams that include students with disabilities and in my work with teachers on differentiating instruction.

    R. Olendar, Consultant, NY