How Gr. 3-8 state assessments improve education for students

Dear New Lebanon Families:

Each year, students in the New Lebanon Central School District participate in the New York State Grades 3-8 assessments. This year, the assessments will be administered April 2-3 for English Language Arts (ELA), and May 1-3 for math.

Parents and educators brought up many concerns about these tests over the past several years, and I am pleased to say that Commissioner Elia and the Board of Regents listened to these concerns and responded with significant changes.

Below you will find a summary of these concerns and the improvements that have been made:

  • Testing was too long: testing was reduced from three days to two.
  • The tests were too long – there are fewer test items on each test.
  • Students felt rushed by the testing time limits – students are given as much time as they need to finish the exam at their own pace (within the regular school day).
  • The Common Core was not developed in New York – All items from those standards were reviewed and the New York Next Generation Learning Standards are in place. Additionally, we have a multi-year phase in for these standards.
  • Teachers were being evaluated by these tests – exam results will not be used in teacher or principal evaluations
  • Some special education testing accommodations were not allowed – special education students now receive all of the accommodations listed in their individualized education plans.

Now that these concerns have been met, we will be testing all students in attendance on testing day. Our goal in doing so is to make sure we get good information to evaluate the effectiveness of our programs. When we had 20% or more students in a grade not take the test, we were unable to use the test results to compare our performance to that of students across the state or in our region.

Your support in this effort to have all students participating in the assessment process is greatly appreciated. Should you have questions, please contact me.

Sincerely,

Leslie Whitcomb
Superintendent

Here is a video from Superintendent Leslie Whitcomb explaining how the upcoming Gr. 3-8 state assessments help New Lebanon CSD improve education for students.