Common Core Assessments
Why do we have an annual statewide test?
The New York State Assessments began in 1999 with 4th and 8th grade ELA and math. With the advent of the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), States have been required to test students in ELA and math annually in grades 3 through 8 and once in grades 10-12. States are also required to test students in science once in grades 3-5, 6-8, and 10-12. In 2012-13, the New York State Department of Education made significant changes to the State assessments, which included transitioning to the Common Core Standards. The State Assessments measure student progress with regard to skills and content knowledge.
What is a test refusal?
A test refusal is when a parent of a student refuses to have his/her child take the assessment. As described in the NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual, a refusal is defined with a final score of “999” and a standard achievement score of 96 on all State testing including ELA and math. A refusal is not demarcated as an absence as they are defined differently and scored with different standard achieved codes as specified in the SIRS Manual.
Can a student refuse a Regents exam?
Should a student refuse to take a Regents exam, it may ultimately result with a student being unable to graduate from high school. It is advisable that students take a Regents exam as it is a component of their final grade for a course and Regents exams are posted to the student’s transcript. Please note that Regents exams are prepared with significant input from educators in the field. We believe that these tests are a valid indication of a student’s performance in an academic area.
If my child takes one component of the Assessment, what will happen if they do not complete the Assessment?
Should a student take any component of an assessment, he/she will receive a score. We do not advise a student not completing the assessment once he/she has begun as it will have an adverse effect on a teacher’s performance score.
What are the consequences if the students do not participate in the State Assessments?
If a student does not participate in the state assessments, he/she will not receive feedback from the State Department of Education in comparison to other students who were administered the assessments. Three Village uses a multi-assessment approach to address a student’s progress and growth to meeting the standards.
If my child did not take the State ELA Assessment, can he/she still opt out of the State Math Assessment?
Yes. The parent of the student should contact the school and notify the administration.
If I opt my child out and I send him or her late to school, will it still be recorded as an opt out?
Yes, however, state aid is tied to student attendance and all students are encouraged to attend school regardless of whether they take the assessment or not. An absence will impact state aid to the district.
Will a student’s placement be impacted in any way if he/she takes the Assessment?
The assessments may not and will not be used for student placement, retention or promotion. Unlike Regents examinations, State assessments will not be part of the student’s permanent records nor will they be posted to the student’s transcript.
How will my child’s scores be used?
Feedback from the State assessments provides educators information on student progress and related needs from grades 3-8.
Is there any penalty to the district if too many students opt out?
At this time, the consequence for not achieving 95% participation on State assessments has not been clearly defined. If a school or district fails to have 95% of its students in grades 3-8 participate on the State assessments for three years in a row, that school or district will be designated as a Local Assistance Plan School (LAP) and will be required to submit an improvement plan to the State Education Department. Unless student participation rates meet or receive the 95% requirement and/or student performance levels meet state expectations, a school will be prevented from receiving designation as a reward school.
Will State Assessments be used for placement in Honors Programs at the junior highs?
No. The district does not use any single criterion in determining student placement, services, promotion or retention.
If yes, what is the protocol if the student opted out of the State Assessments and only has a score from a few years ago?
Will State Assessments be used for placement in the IG program?
No. There are six criteria which are used for IG Placement. Please refer to the IG Program
Will a child still be able to obtain AIS services if they do not take the State Assessments?
Yes. Placement in Academic Intervention Services is also conducted by teacher recommendations and other criteria.
For the children that are opted out, what will they be doing while the test is being administered?
Students will be placed in a separate location and allowed to read, write in a journal or make up other work as directed by the building principal.
How will the State Assessment grades affect our teachers?
State assessments are used as a part of the teacher Annual Professional Performance Review.
What is the number of students that are needed to opt out for a teacher not to receive a State-generated score?
According to the guidance from the State Education Department, for teachers of 4th through 8th ELA and math and their principals, the minimum number of scores required a State generated score for an educator is 16 scores. This could be, for instance, 16 scores in one subject or 8 students who have scores in ELA or math.
Can we opt out our children from benchmarking?
No. Benchmarking is conducted in schools to determine the reading level of students. This information is imperative in order to assist students in their academic progress.
What types of questions are asked on the tests?
The paper and computer versions of the tests include both multiple choice and open-ended questions, which assess grade level learning standards. The questions require students to apply their knowledge and explain their reasoning. Students spend time reading complex texts, writing well-reasoned responses, and solving real-world word problems, all of which provide the foundation for necessary skills to practice and master to succeed in college and careers.
Last spring, the Department released 75-percent of test questions from the 2016 tests – more questions than ever before for this testing program. You can view the 2016 questions at EngageNY (https://www.engageny.org/3-8).
The 2017 tests will have the same number of questions as the 2016 tests. Each 2016 test had fewer test questions in both ELA and math, as compared to previous years.
Do English Language Learners who are new to the United States take the Grades 3-8 ELA Tests?
The Department’s current policy, in accordance with federal law, is to exempt English Language Learners (including those from Puerto Rico) who, on March 27, 2017, will have been attending school in the United States for the first time for less than one year for the 2017 Grades 3-8 ELA Tests only.
Schools may use the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) in place of the 2017 Grades 3–8 ELA Tests, to meet participation requirements only, for recently arrived English Language Learners who meet the criterion above.
All other English Language Learners are expected to participate in the 2017 Grades 3–8 ELA Tests, as well as in the NYSESLAT.
Are there testing accommodations for students with disabilities?
Yes, testing accommodations are changes made in the administration of the test in order to remove obstacles to the test-taking process that are presented by the student’s disability without reducing expectations for learning. Specific testing accommodations are recommended for individual students by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or Section 504 Committee based on the student’s unique needs.
Testing accommodations must be documented on students’ Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) or Section 504 plans and could include: flexibility in scheduling/timing (e.g., extending the time of a test); flexibility in the test setting (e.g., testing in a separate location); changes in test presentation (e.g., enlarged print); and changes in the method of response (e.g., use of a scribe for written responses).
Principals are responsible for ensuring that accommodations for students with disabilities are implemented on all State and local tests consistent with the recommendations in the IEP/Section 504 plan and in accordance with Department policy.
What will I learn from my child’s score report?
The results of the annual assessments give you information about your child’s academic progress and achievement. You will be able to see how your child did in comparison to other students across the State. The score report will be ready over the summer.
In addition to providing an overall scale score and performance level, both the ELA and math reports show how your child scored in specific skill and concept areas. For example, the ELA report provides scores for both reading and writing; the math report provides scores for the key math concepts for that grade level. This information helps your child’s teacher(s) understand where your child is doing well and where he or she needs more support.
The score reports for parents were redesigned in 2016 to be to be more useful and understandable.
What if my child did well on his or her report card but did not do as well on the State tests?
The annual tests are only one of several measures that are used to gauge your child’s academic performance and represent a snap shot in time.
Report card grades are cumulative and based on many factors, including class participation, homework, attendance, quizzes, tests, and other instructional activities, all of which are important in determining a child’s academic achievement but are not reflected in the annual State test results.
How long are the tests?
The ELA and Math Tests are each given over a three-day period. It is estimated that students in Grades 3 and 4 will spend about 60-70 minutes on the test each day, while students in Grades 5-8 will spend about 80-90 minutes on the tests each day. In general, the tests take up less than 1-percent of the total time a student spends in class each year.
However, since the 2017 tests will be untimed, exact test taking times will vary from student to student. The 2016 tests were also untimed.
How are New York State teachers involved in the test development process?
NYS teachers review and approve every passage and question on the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests.
During test development, teachers from across the State gathered in Albany multiple times to evaluate and select questions for the 2017 tests. Every question on the 2017 tests was reviewed by at least 22 educators.
Since 2016, New York State teachers have been engaged in writing future test questions. These questions will first appear on the 2018 tests.
What else is being done to improve the testing program?
New York State teachers will continue to be highly involved in the development of future exams to ensure that they closely correspond with classroom activities and the State learning standards.
The Department is helping more districts to transition to computer-based testing, which will eventually make results available more quickly.
As in 2016, the Department will release 75-percent of the test questions and return instructional reports to teachers before the end of the school year.