SED Updates – 11/26/13

Good afternoon.

The e-mail message below was received last night from Deputy Commissioner Ken Wagner and pertains to important recent events. We hope that you will find this information helpful, and we wish you all the best for a happy and safe Thanksgiving Holiday.



See below for a few recent updates that you may find useful.


(1) In October, the Board of Regents discussed Performance Levels for the Common Core Regents Exams, to be first administered in June 2014 (see In November, staff proposed five performance levels, with separate cut scores analogous to the current score of 65 (necessary for credit and graduation purposes) and the current scores of 75/80 (the aspirational performance measures). If approved by the Board, these performance levels will allow similar percentages of students to pass Common Core Regents Exams for graduation and credit purposes as currently pass the existing Regents Exams.  See


(2) At its November 2013 meeting, the Board of Regents adopted an emergency rule that provides at local discretion an additional opportunity, at the January 2014 examination administration, for students enrolled in Common Core ELA courses to meet diploma requirements by passing either the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English or the Regents Examination in English Language Arts (Common Core). The updated field memo is posted at

(3) In 2014, the Estimated Time on Task (ETOT, or how long it will take the student to complete the test) will decrease on the grades 3-8 math tests. The math tests will have fewer questions and, therefore, will take less time to complete. Due to fewer questions on the math tests, the session length (how long students will be given to complete a test) on Day 1 and Day 2 has decreased by 10 minutes each day, resulting in a total decrease in testing time of 20 minutes per grade. 


In 2014, the Estimated Time on Task (ETOT, or how long it will take the student to complete the test) will decrease on the grades 5-8 English language arts (ELA) tests. The ELA tests in these specific grades will have fewer passages and questions on Day 2 and, therefore, the ETOT will decrease by 10 minutes. The ELA session time is remaining the same in 2014 based on field concerns that students have sufficient time to complete the test.


This information will be released shortly when the 2014 Test Guides are posted.

The operational test length in 2014 was reduced by moving embedded field test items from the operational tests to standalone field tests.

In addition, the Department has submitted a legislative budget request to eliminate grades 3-8 ELA and math multiple-choice standalone field tests by increasing the number of operational test forms. If this budget request is granted, all multiple choice field test questions would be included in the operational test, without increasing testing time. This would reduce the number of students by 42% who need to take standalone field tests. We would continue to need standalone field tests for constructed response questions only.

 (4) Testimony on the data security and privacy protections contained in the EngageNY Portal was presented to the Assembly Education Committee and posted at