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Changes ahead for ELA 3-8 testing

March 3, 2016

School districts throughout New York, including Monticello, have been notified by the New York State Education Department (NYSED) that annual state testing of students in grades 3 through 8 will be done differently this year. The tests, which are administered in the spring, will have fewer questions and will no longer be timed.

In announcing the changes, NYSED officials said the new format is intended to “improve the testing experience for students and the validity of the assessments.” The department recently contracted with a new test vendor, Questar Assessments Inc., which will replace New York’s longtime test company Pearson in providing the exam materials in 2016.

NYSED has decreased the number of test questions on both the 2016 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and math tests. On all ELA tests in grades 3-8, students will read one less passage and answer fewer questions. On the math tests in grades 3-8, four questions are to be eliminated from the multiple choice test sections at each grade level. Students will also be given as much time as needed to complete the tests, which will be administered over six days in April. Students had previously been given 60 to 90 minutes to complete each day’s test, depending on the subject and grade level.

The 2016 spring testing dates are as follows:
NYS 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA): April 5-7, 2016
NYS 3-8 math: April 13-15, 2016

Click here for a flyer which contains more information on the announced changes to the state exams.

Overview of changes to NYS assessments

Decreased Number of Test Questions

  • The 2016 Grade 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) Tests will have one less reading passage and fewer questions to answer. The 2016 Grade 3-8 Mathematics Tests will also have fewer questions.

Untimed Testing

  • The 2016 Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Tests will be untimed. This change gives students more opportunity to demonstrate what they know and can do by allowing them to work at their own pace. In general, this means that as long as students are productively working, they will have as much time as they need to finish their tests.

Greater Teacher Involvement

  • The State Education Department has increased the number of New York State teachers involved in creating and reviewing the assessments and will expand opportunities for teachers to be involved in future test development.
  • Teachers from across the State gathered in Albany in October 2015 to evaluate and select questions for the 2016 tests.
  • Beginning in fall 2015 and going forward, a greater number of New York State teachers have been—and will continue to be—involved in the review of all test questions and final test forms.
  • For the first time ever, New York State teachers will write the test questions for the Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests. These questions will first be used on the 2018 tests.

New Test Vendor

  • Last summer, Questar Assessment Inc. was awarded the State’s Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics assessment contract. Questar Assessment Inc. has partnered with the Department on the changes described above and on other changes to the Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests.

This information has provided by the New York State Education Department.
This information can be viewed and downloaded here: English | Spanish