Questions from the Field

February 24, 2003

  1. Will there be a test sampler?
  2. Answer: Yes. It will be available by mid March on the OSA web site at www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/assess.html. It will include sample test items and rubrics for scoring.


  3. How different will the five grade level assessments be?
  4. Answer: All students will take four modalities; reading, listening, writing and speaking. The K-1 level will be very basic. They will answer the multiple-choice items for reading and listening directly in their test booklets. Staff will have to transcribe their answers to scannable answer forms (provided by the RICs*). They will have the listening section read to them, instead of listening to a tape. They will write letters, words, phrases and sentences to questions for the written test.

    Second graders taking the 2-4 level exam will also be able to record their multiple choice questions in the test booklet. Staff will have to transcribe their answers to scannable forms (provided).

    The older children will answer the multiple-choice questions by filling in a scannable answer form (provided).The writing test will consist of a prewriting or graphic organizer section, a paragraph and then an editing task. The listening tests will have pre-recorded tapes for the listening passages.


  5. Will all the ESL learning standards be covered by the NYSESLAT test items?

Answer: Yes. The fifth standard, acculturation, is imbedded in the other four.


  1. How and when will NYSESLAT tests be ordered?
  2. Answer: Principals will order the test by submitting the NCS scannable NYSESLAT order form to the Department. Principals should make every effort to submit their order forms by March 1.


    * Regional Information Center at BOCES, Big Five City Schools and for non public schools SED serves as the RIC. The RICs prepare answer forms and collect student responses.


  3. What paperwork will be required to be sent to the NYSED on NYSESLAT scores? How will NYSESLAT scores be reported to NYSED?
  4. Answer: Local schools will send the students’ multiple choice answer forms to their RICs for scanning and scoring. The local schools will not receive the answers to the multiple-choice items. After the local schools have completed the hand scoring of the speaking and writing tests those scores will be documented on scannable answer forms and they will be sent to the RICs. The RICs will forward all this data to SED.

    Raw score to scale score conversion charts will be made available to the RICs in mid summer. The RICs will send the converted scores to local schools. SED will also calculate the converted scores and prepare LEAP files to send to the Federal Government.


  5. Considering the requirements of NCLB and Part 154 , what data will need to be reported/documented on LEP students – such as number of years in US schools; number of years in NYS ESL program (for Part 154); accommodations given students on each state test?

Answer: Some of the information includes:

  1. amount of time LEP has been enrolled in a language instruction program.
  2. identify annual increase in the number of LEP students making progress in English.
  3. LEP students progress in learning English and meeting state content standards
  4. the progress made by former LEP students in meeting state content standards

for each of the two years after no longer receiving services. Specified and detailed information will be sent under separate cover.


4. Will districts have to pay for the NYSESLAT test booklet and/or answer form?

Answer: No

5. Can districts give the test at any time during that 2-week window?

Answer: Yes. Schools should budget time carefully to be sure that all the speaking tests are administered and scored as well in that time frame.


6. Will the districts be notified that cassette players are needed?

Answer: The memo that was sent with the ordering materials explains that cassette players are needed.



1. Beginning in 03-04, LAB-R is used to identify students as they enter programs and NYSESLAT is given to every student each spring. For first year students, how will annual achievement be measured? Are LAB-R and NYSESLAT scores correlated?

Answer: The NYSESLAT will be administered for the first time in Spring 2003. Annual achievement will be measured through the NYSESLAT. Notification of the procedure will be given soon, as SED evaluates the Federal requirements. If "correlate" means a statistical correlation then this can be done, but is not expected to be very meaningful because the Lab-R is designed for identification while the NYSESLAT is designed to span the whole proficiency range. If "correlate" means yielding scores that can be compared, then that will be possible soon.



  1. Will 40th percentile still constitute the cutoff for exit from ESL/bilingual program?

Answer: No. The NYSESLAT is not designed to provide norm-referenced interpretations. Exit will be based on ability to succeed in the monolingual environment.



  1. Will a teacher be able to score his/her own student’s NYSESLAT?
  2. Answer: The multiple choice items will be scored by the RICs. Teachers will be scoring their students' written test papers. Each student's paper for the writing modality must be scored by a committee of no fewer than two teachers. While each individual response is scored by only one teacher, no teacher should score more than two thirds of the test questions.

    The speaking modality is scored by the teacher as the test is being administered. Teachers may administer this test to their own students.


  3. Will there be a training video for scorers?
  4. Answer: There will be training materials provided in writing. There will be no training video. The BETACs will be providing generic scoring training.


  5. Will there be regional scoring?
  6. Answer: The SCDN networks may choose to offer regional scoring to their districts. Those decisions will be made at the regional level.


  7. Who can score the writing and speaking tests?

Answer: Teachers who are certified in ELA or ESL and who have been trained to score can score the tests.


5. How will the percentiles compare with the LAB? Will there be a conversion chart or a whole new formula for how NYSESLAT scores relate to ESL levels (and a score for testing out)?

Answer: This is not a norm referenced test. There are no percentiles. There will be a conversion chart giving NYSESLAT scale values, and ESL levels, and the exit criterion. The scale will be derived from item response theory (IRT) techniques.



  1. Form A-12, Request for Extension of Services Form, is the only acceptable proof
  2. of an approved extension. Part 154 B districts are not required to submit these


    Answer: It is not necessary that the name of the student appear on the Form A-12 as long as the school or district keeps accurate records of the names of such students.


  3. Will LEP students be provided with accommodations?
  4. Answer: LEP accommodations are not allowed for the NYSESLAT tests.


  5. Will IEP and 504 students be provided accommodations?
  6. Answer: Yes. Accommodations that do not change the test are allowed, including reading the test to students, if it is documented in their IEP or 504 plan. See Examples of Testing Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, page 46, Appendix VI for a description of accommodations allowed when administering state tests.

  7. Can students who are schooled at home by their parents take these tests?

Answer: If the parents have a rapport with the local school district it may be possible for them to take the test at that school.