Dear Parents and Guardians (Grades 3-8):

The New York State English Language Arts Test will take place on Thursday, April 12 and Friday, April 13.  These tests provide our teachers with valuable information about our students’ growth and achievement and the effectiveness of our instructional practices. To further student learning, our teachers have employed new instructional strategies aligned to New York State Standards. The information gathered from these assessments help us make adjustments to our curriculum.

We want to share the changes that have taken place over the past few years indicating the responsiveness of the New York State Education Department to criticism and concerns about the tests. Many improvements have been made in the light of teacher and parent advocacy:

Tests are shorter, with fewer questions and administered over fewer days.

Tests are typically completed in 90-minute blocks (two days each for both ELA and Math, 90-minute block on each day)

Students can take as long as they wish to complete the tests although tests are scheduled in 90-minute blocks. Provisions are made for students to continue to work on the test for as long as they wish.

  • Tests are spread out. ELA is administered in early April and Math is in May.
  • There are fewer questions, reading passages and writing prompts.
  • Putnam Valley teachers have joined others across the state in selecting texts and developing questions.
  • A variety of authentic reading passages at differentiated reading levels are used to assess comprehension.
  • Additional accommodations are allowed for students with IEPs.
  • Results are received by June so that student programs can be developed for the following year.
  • Questions and student responses are released to allow teachers to consider curriculum and instruction.
  • Parents can see their students’ responses to the tests by making an appointment with the school.
  • Test scores are no longer used as part of teacher evaluations, which are now locally determined.
  • As always, please encourage your children to do their best.  We appreciate your partnership.
  • If you have any questions about the assessments, please contact your child’s school for assistance.

Sincerely,

Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools

THE STATE EDUCATION DEPARTMENT – Communication with Parents Regardihg Sudent Participation in Elementary and Intermediate-level State Assessments