On December 22, 2015 Commissioner Elia wrote a letter to Patrick Rooney, Acting Director, Office of State Support, US Department of Education. This letter is an apparent follow-up to an earlier request from the USDOE concerning the State’s plans for addressing the federal test participation rate. (A 95% participation rate is required.) The Commissioner proposes a number of actions that obviously speak to last year’s unprecedented test refusal by over 20% of NYS students.
One particular statement about the ELA/Math Test results caught my attention. Ms. Elia stated that the State would: “Eliminate high-stakes for students by reminding districts that, until December 31, 2018, scores on the grades 3-8 tests may not be included on a student’s official transcript or permanent record.”
Apparently my District didn’t get the word. Until I raised the question student records still carried their ELA/Math scores. But now my next question is what happens to these scores if they are not maintained in student records?
Last year the Commissioner prepared a “Tool Kit” for Superintendents with materials designed to “inform” parents about the importance of having their children take the tests. The FAQ Sheet in the Kit offered the following question/answer:
1. How will my child’s score be used?
· Scores will be used to tailor instruction to individual students (emphasis added) and measure how well schools, districts, and the State are progressing with the higher learning standards.
· State law and Commissioner’s regulations prohibit school districts from making promotion or placement decisions based solely or primarily on student performance on the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests.
Let’s return to my original question. What happens to the scores for individual students? Where will they be housed so that teachers will have access to “tailor instruction to individual students?” I’m even more anxious to learn the answer since traditionally the tests results aren’t even returned until the following academic year.
Has any District figured out the answer to this question? I’m still asking mine.