Commissioner King Sends Letter to School Superintendents on 3-8 ELA & Math Assessments

On Monday March 24, the State Education Department sent a letter to school superintendents pertaining to the administration of state tests scheduled for administration to students in grades 3 to 8.

Commissioner King’s letter includes a link to access the 3-8 test schedule, including administration dates, make-up dates, scoring dates, and dates for the submission of answer sheets. However, the overriding theme of the commissioner’s letter is an encouragement for schools to communicate with teachers, parents, and students to correct misinformation to help them better understand “how the assessments help us better identify student strengths and needs and better support the growth of classroom teachers.” It is the commissioner’s expectation that such communication will alleviate stress and frustration among students and teachers.

The information released by SED does not address the matter of students opting out of state testing. However, when SED sent material on March 23, in preparation for a SAANYS-SED meeting held on March 25 under the heading Information on Student Participation in State Assessments, a link was included to access a January 2013 memorandum issued by Steven Katz. The memorandum states: “With the exception of certain areas in which parental consent is required, such as Committee on Special Education (CSE) evaluations for students with disabilities and certain federally-funded surveys and analyses specified under the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (see 20 U.S.C. 1232h), there is no provision in statute or regulation allowing parents to opt their children out of state tests. The failure to comply with the requirements provided above will have a negative impact on a school or school district’s accountability, as all schools are required to have a 95 percent participation rate in state testing.”

Download Commissioner King’s letter.