Today is a big day for many students in New York.  The State Education Department begins this year's assessments for third through eighth grade.

The testing, in English, mathematics, and for some grades history or science, take place over several days.

There is increased emphasis on the exams and the results because they are used to evaluate both teachers and schools in New York.

The ensuing pressure highlights the effort to enhance New York's educational stature in the country, and that push has led to a chance in the "common core curriculum."  The raising of that proverbial bar is causing a stirring of emotions by parents, teachers, and educators because students who once scored highly are finding that they have dropped a notch statistically.  Additionally, the revised standards have caused confusion over new teaching methods and techniques, and some say that not all of the changes have been positive.

State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr., released this video last week to educate parents about the Common Core Curriculum:

At the heart of all of the new curricula is the students, many of whom are anxious about today's test start.