Middle School

Excellence in Education
NYS Testing Parent Information  

March 2017

Dear Middle School Families,

Within the next several weeks we will be administering the NYS state assessments in ELA, Math, and Science at the Middle School (grades 5-8) level. The exam dates this year are as follows:

 

  • ELA: March 28-30
  • Math: May 2-4
  • Science (8th grade ONLY): Lab Practical TBD, Written Exam (June 5)

 

As you may be aware, last year brought sweeping changes to the NYS Common Core Math and ELA exams. The assessments are better aligned to student growth and achievement while decreasing the stress that may have been a part of the testing program. The data collected from each assessment is essential for the students, family, and school. The information gathered from the exams is used to compare our student skills with students from across the state. In addition, the results aid us with curriculum accuracy decisions and help to identify any additional support we need to provide to promote student success. Since the data gathered from the exams is used in a vital manner to assist our students, we ask that all students in attendance on the dates mentioned above take the NYS assessments. Should we receive a refusal note from a parent or guardian on any of the exam dates and the student is in attendance, they will be asked to report to an alternate location, supervised by staff, to work on assignments determined by their teachers.

 

Exam Items of Importance:

  • The exams allow our students to demonstrate what they know and are able to do as compared with the expectations set by the state standards. The results help us analyze the effectiveness of our curriculum, which is developed locally by our teachers and administrators to meet the state standards.
  • The exams prepare our students for the future standards-based instruction and assessments such as Regents Exams, ACT & SAT (college placement exams), where the stakes are much higher. They help students build the stamina they will need for future exams.
  • The time: The Common Core Assessments are not timed. Students will be able to use the strategies we teach them without worrying about running out of time.
  • The stakes: While the tests never led to students failing the grade or a class, the results were strongly tied to teacher evaluation. Exam results will no longer be used in teacher evaluations. They will, however, be an indicator of the need for Academic Intervention Services in the year(s) following the test(s). This is a useful support for aiding students in becoming proficient in their content area(s) of weakness.
  • The participation rate on exams – 95% is required over a two year period – ensures that the district remains in good standing with the state and federal government for participation rates. We have not met this target over the past two school years. In part, low participation on state exams provides both classroom teachers and administrators with less reliable data from which to base curricular decisions. We understand that your child’s participation in these exams is ultimately a parental decision, but we at the school recognize that the exams are a valuable way to help us assess student growth from year-to-year. I would only ask that as you make your decision this year that you consider this information.

 

Thank you for your consideration.

 

Sincerely,

Sean P. Gleason, CMMS Principal


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