Letter from Principal

March 12, 2019

  Dear Parent/Guardian,

 This April and May we will be administering the New York State ELA and Math assessments in grades 3 – 8.  These performance-based assessments were established in 1999 and have occurred annually since then.  New York State is required by the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) to administer these assessments to guarantee that all students attending public schools are receiving a strong academic foundation.

 

Assessment

NY State Identified

Administration Dates

NY State Identified

Make-up Dates

ELA Grade 6

Computer Based Test

April 2 – 8

April 4 - 11

ELA Grade 7 & 8

Paper Based Test

April 2 - 8

April 4-11

Math Grades 6

Computer Based Test

April 30 – May7

May 3-9

Math Grades 7 & 8

Paper Based Test

April 30 – May 7

May 3-9

 

For our district, these assessments provide faculty and administration with information on how well our curriculum and instruction align with state expectations and standards. During the last six years, the district has implemented new curriculum in the areas of reading, writing and mathematics.  The ELA and mathematics assessments give us important feedback on how our curriculum and instruction impacts students’ mastery of the learning standards.  For this reason, it is especially important that students participate in these assessments – to ensure the quality of teaching and learning in our district remains one of the strongest in the region.

 

In the last two years, the state has made significant changes to these assessments to better help our district administer them, our students to take them, and our faculty and principals to learn from them:

  • Two days of testing instead of three: Starting this year, the 6th grade will be taking the computer based tests for both the ELA and Math assessments.
  • Shortened, untimed tests: Last year the number of items on the assessments were reduced.  The state also removed time limits from the assessments, giving students as much time as they need to confidently complete the assessments.
  • Teacher participation in assessment development: Hundreds of New York State educators were involved in creating and reviewing questions for the assessments. 
  • District results on released items in May and June:  For the past three years we have been able to provide teachers with data showing how their students performed. This gives us immediate feedback on how our curriculum is impacting students’ achievement of the standards.

 At East and West Middle Schools, we realize that part of our responsibility is to prepare your child for assessments that will influence their graduation and college and career goals.  These assessments are an opportunity for students to practice test endurance and apply many of the same test-taking skills and strategies they will use in high school for Regents, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and college entrance exams.  We continue to see value in having our students participate in the state assessment program.  Students who sit for the state assessments, and have a class average of 80% or better, will be exempted from having to take the final exams in ELA and math. 

Participation in Assessments

Our district is required by New York State to administer and support participation in these assessments.   It is important that we prepare for and maintain a calm and structured assessment program in our buildings.  Some parents have chosen to remove their students from participation.  As a district, we have worked with families to ensure that all students will be respected for their choices.  Students should be taking the assessments in an environment free from disruptions.

  • Participation:  Please encourage your child to remain calm and try his/her best.  Have them get plenty of rest and eat a good breakfast each day.  Research has shown that rest and proper nutrition play a positive role in performance on assessments. 

     

  • Impact of Refusals on School Results/Accountability: Test refusals have a negative impact on the overall accountability results established by New York State. The results of student performance are used to determine if a school is publically listed as a school in need of improvement based on these assessments. The schools status is used by realtor vendors such as Zillow.com and GreatSchools.com in determining their own school ratings, which are often used by families looking to rent, purchase homes or relocate near our schools.

     

  • Refusal to participate:  If you decide to instruct your child not to participate in any portion of these assessments, please contact your school in writing (and we will follow up with a phone call to you) by Tuesday, March 26, 2019.
  • Decisions need to be made prior to the testing period to ensure that the school’s testing schedule can be finalized; therefore please consider your options carefully at this time.
  • Students whose parents/guardians have provided prior notice that they will not be participating will be assigned to report to an alternate location.  Students are to bring study/reading materials with them on assessment days.  No electronics will be permitted during this time.

Please feel free to contact me at (607) 763-8400 or Karry Mullins, Assistant Superintendent of Instruction and Budget at (607) 762-8100 x321 if you have questions related to the New York State assessment program or the content of this letter.

Sincerely,

Kristine K. Battaglino

Principal, West Middle School