Important information regarding upcoming NYS grades 3-8 assessments

A message from Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Rachel Anderson:

FAQs

Dear Parents and Guardians:

The arrival of spring signals the start of another seasonal activity for our students in Grades 3 through 8. The annual New York State (NYS) assessments for English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics will be administered in a few short weeks. These annual tests are designed to measure how well students are mastering the NYS learning standards that guide our classroom instruction, and they help us to identify students who may need extra support. The tests also show us how our schools are progressing with the learning standards, and the data help us to determine where we may need to improve our academic programs. NYS assessment results are reviewed at every level by teachers and school leaders in order to make informed decisions about our students, our curriculum, and our instruction.

The State Education Department has made a number of changes to the annual Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Assessments over the past few years. A summary of these changes is below.

Untimed Testing

The Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests are untimed so students who need more time to demonstrate what they know and can do will be able to work at their own pace. This means that as long as students are working productively, they will have as much time as they need to complete their tests, within the confines of the regular school day.

Greater Teacher Involvement

Hundreds of New York State educators served on state-wide committees to write, evaluate and select questions for the 2024 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests. Teacher involvement in writing and selecting questions will continue in future years.

Improved Resources for Schools and Parents

As in recent years, the State Education Department plans to release at least 75-percent of the test questions to help teachers and school leaders make decisions about future instruction.

Also, as in past years, the 2024 Score Reports for parents/guardians will feature a clear design with information about what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

Computer-Based Testing

New York State is transitioning to computer-based testing for the Grades 3-8 Tests. In Guilderland, we have administered our Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests on computers rather than on paper since 2019. The computer-based tests have the same questions as the paper versions of the tests.

Students and teachers have been preparing for the computer-based tests over the past few months, and students should be familiar with the format prior to the test administration dates. The Question Sampler is available to the public online (https://cbtsupport.nysed.gov/hc/en-us/articles/115000943046-New-York-Question-Sampler), and may be used by parents/guardians and students to become familiar with computer-based testing.

Other ways parents and guardians can help students prepare for the New York State 3-8 Assessments include:

  • ensuring your child has a good night’s sleep before test day
  • encouraging your child to eat a healthy breakfast on test day
  • ensuring your child arrives at school on time on test day
  • encouraging your child to do their best on each assessment

You can find more information about the New York State 3-8 Assessments on the State Education Department’s website (http://www.nysed.gov/state-assessment/parent-resources), or by viewing our Parents’ FAQs document. If you have additional questions, please contact your child’s building principal.

We look forward to your child’s success with New York State tests this spring.

Sincerely,

Rachel Anderson
Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction

Parents’ Frequently Asked Questions About New York State’s Annual Grades 3-8 Assessments

  1. What is the purpose of the 3-8 ELA and Math Tests?
    • The tests are designed to measure how well students are mastering the
      learning standards that guide our classroom instruction.
    • The tests can also help identify any learning needs a student may have.
    • Test results are used to track, over time, how well our schools are doing at ensuring that all students are learning and growing.
  2. Is my child required to take the tests?
    • Annual ELA and mathematics tests for students in grades 3-8 are required
      by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) of 2015 as well as the
      New York State Education Department Part 100 Regulations.
    • Public school students enrolled in Grades 3–8 are expected to take the
      ELA and mathematics tests administered for their grade level. Testing is
      not optional.
    • Because testing is not optional, students who “opt out” of testing are
      reported to the NYS Education Department as “refusals” and count
      negatively against the school’s required participation rate for testing.
    • Students who refuse to participate may be permitted to read for the
      duration of the testing sessions, but they are not allowed to work on other
      school work.
  3. How can I help my child do their best work on test day?
    • Ensure your child has a good night’s sleep before test day
    • Encourage your child to eat a healthy breakfast on test day
    • Ensure your child arrives at school on time on test day
    • Encourage your child to do their best on each assessment
  4. What is computer-based testing?
    • In 2024, we will administer all 3-8 tests on the computer. This is called
      computer-based testing (CBT).
    • Guilderland students have been taking ELA and Math tests on computers
      for a number of years. This year, students in grades 5 and 8 will also take
      science CBT.
    • Computer-based testing follows the same test design as traditional
      paper-based tests. Students testing on a computer select their answers
      for multiple choice questions on the computer instead of recording them
      on an answer sheet and type their responses to open-ended questions on
      the computer instead of handwriting them in a paper test booklet.
    • A Question Sampler (https://ny.nextera.questarai.com/tds/#practice) is
      available publicly online and offers an opportunity for students, parents,
      and educators to become familiar with CBT.
    • Paper-based testing will remain available as an accommodation for
      students who, according to their Individualized Education Programs (IEPs)
      or Section 504 Plans, must test on paper.
  5. What is the length of the 2024 tests?
    • The 2024 Grades 3–8 ELA Tests consist of two sessions that are
      administered over two days.
    • The 2024 Grades 3–8 Math Tests consist of two sessions that are
      administered over two days.
    • The 2024 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests will be untimed. Students who
      are productively working are given the time they need to finish within the
      confines of the regular school day.
  6. When will the 2024 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests be administered?
    • For the 2023–24 school year, there is a singular multiple-week window to
      administer the Grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics Computer-Based Tests
      and the Grades 5 & 8 Science Computer-based Tests.
    • This multiple-week window allows individual schools the flexibility to set its
      own administration dates for each test. Specific testing dates will be
      communicated by your child’s school.
  7. What types of questions are asked on the tests?
    • The ELA and Math Tests include multiple choice and open-ended
      questions, which assess grade-level learning standards.
    • The questions require students to apply their knowledge and, in
      open-ended responses, explain their reasoning.
    • Students will read texts, write responses, and solve real-world word
      problems, all of which are foundational skills necessary for success in their
      next grade.
    • The NYS Education Department will continue to release at least 75% of
      test questions that count toward students’ scores, including all
      open-ended questions.
    • Previously released test questions (http://www.nysed.gov/stateassessment/
      past-grades-3-8-tests) on the Department’s website.
  8. How are New York State teachers involved in the test development
    process?

    • Hundreds of New York State educators are involved in creating and
      reviewing questions for the Grades 3-8 ELA, Math and Science Tests and
      selecting the questions for the test forms.
  9. Are there testing accommodations for students with disabilities?
    • Yes. Testing accommodations must be documented on students’
      Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) or Section 504 Plans and could
      include: flexibility in scheduling (e.g., scheduled breaks); flexibility in the
      test setting (e.g., separate location); changes in test presentation (e.g.,
      enlarged print, test read); and changes in the method of response (e.g.,
      use of a scribe or speech to text for written responses).
  10. Do English Language Learners (ELLs) who are new to the United States
    take the Grades 3-8 ELA Tests?

    • ELLs (including those from Puerto Rico) who have been attending school
      in the U.S. for the first time for less than one year may be exempt from
      taking 3-8 ELA Tests.
    • All other ELLs are expected to participate in the Grades 3–8 ELA Tests.
    • There are no exemptions for students from the Grades 3-8 Math Tests or
      the Grades 5 and 8 Science Tests.
  11. Are there testing accommodations for English Language Learners (ELLs)?
    • Yes. Testing accommodations could include, for both the ELA and Math
      Tests, separate location and bilingual glossaries.
    • For the Math and Science Tests only, translated editions are available for
      high-incidence languages and oral translations can be offered for
      lower-incidence languages.
  12. What will I learn from my child’s score report?
    • The results will provide information about your child’s academic progress and achievement.
    • You can use your child’s score report to guide a discussion with your child’s teacher(s) about additional supports that may be helpful in school, as well as ways to support your child’s learning at home.
    • The report will show how your child scored in specific skill and concept areas. The ELA report gives scores for both reading and writing. The Math report gives scores for the key math concepts for your child’s grade level.
    • State test results may differ from the information on your child’s school report card. 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.
  13. When will the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests results be available?
    • As in prior years, we anticipate the test results will be available to parents early in the fall.
  14. How will the 2024 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests results be used?
    • First and foremost, the results will help us to identify students to consider for additional supports to make sure that they are achieving grade-level learning standards and are on track for long-term success.
    • Results are reviewed at every level by teachers and school leaders in order to make informed decisions about our students, our curriculum, and our instruction.
    • The results can also be used to see how well schools, districts, and the State overall are progressing with the State learning standards. Scores for your child’s school and our school district are available on the Department’s public data site (https://data.nysed.gov/).
    • State law and Regulations of the Commissioner prohibit school districts from making promotion or placement decisions based solely or primarily on student performance on the Grades 3-8 ELA or Math Tests.
    • Results may be used as one criteria for awards and recognitions (e.g., the President’s Award for Educational Excellence).
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