Dear Parents/ Guardians:
As noted on our school calendar and discussed in a prior email, each year New York State administers a test to measure student achievement across the state. Your child will take the English Language Arts State Assessment on April 5-7 and the Math State Assessment on April 13-17. While other measurements are utilized to assess student achievement, the state tests provide important insight into student learning related to the state standards. The tests will be given for a total 6 days: 3 days each for ELA and for Math. (Other tests administered later in the spring include the New York State Science Assessments in Grade 4 and 8.) NYSED estimates that the average time needed for students to complete the test is approximately 60-90 minutes per day, depending on the grade level, with shorter average time associated with the younger grades.
Changes have been made to the test this spring, including the participation of teachers in the selection of questions, some decrease in the number of questions on the test, and, more significantly, a shift to untimed testing, allowing students to finish the test without the pressure of a time limit. Further, there is a moratorium on the linkage between the student test results and teacher evaluation.
If you decide not to have your child participate in one or more of these tests, please notify your building principal (Ms. Podesta or Mr. Hallisey) in writing no later than Friday, April 1, 2016 so that we can prepare for appropriate space allocation. We ask that you indicate your child’s name, grade, and the specific test or tests you are refusing on behalf of your child.
It is important to note that if a child takes part of the exam, it will be scored as if it were completed. Therefore, we recommend that a child who begins the test, complete the entire exam.
We are planning to assign students who do not take the test to a separate classroom. While no new instruction will be given, students who do not take the state assessment will be asked to do meaningful alternative school work that will help us ascertain student progress.
All students should bring a book to read after completing the assessments or assigned work.
We need to inform you that there is no penalty for students who do not participate in these assessments, as they are not required for promotion or graduation; nor are the scores published on transcripts. We do, however, utilize the student results to help allocate resources for student assistance and guide instructional planning.
Thank you for your cooperation and patience in this matter. If you have further questions regarding the administration of the state assessments, please contact your building principal for additional clarification.
We look forward to the opportunity to affirm our students’ academic progress.
Please review the letter attached and posted on our website from Dr. James Langlois, District Superintendent of Schools serving the 18 component districts of Putnam/Northern Westchester BOCES for important insights on the state testing program. (click here)
Dr. Frances Wills
Superintendent of Schools