Section Two: Requesting and Administering Regents Examinations and Regents Competency Tests
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School principals will receive a minimum of two e-mails concerning the requesting and administering of Regents Exams and RCTs for each exam period. The first e-mail includes a memorandum that provides information on the procedures for requesting and storing the exams. These materials are e-mailed well in advance of the January and June exam periods to all registered secondary schools and to other educational institutions that have been given specific approval to administer the secondary-level State exams. The materials for requesting the August exams are e-mailed to all secondary schools that during the regular school year have placed requests for them through the online examination request system. Other schools wishing to request August exams should notify the Office of State Assessment (OSA) by June 30 via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Online requests for each Regents Exam period should be submitted by the date specified in the memorandum.
Approximately three weeks before each exam period, the second set of materials is e-mailed to school administrators. Included in this e-mail are two memorandums: the first provides information on the shipping and administration of the exams and the return of exam materials to the Department; the second provides information on the format and content of the exams.
Obtaining Exam Materials
General Requesting Procedures
Schools may request only the quantities of exam materials that are actually needed during an exam period. Except when restricted, copies of past Regents Exams are available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/pastexaminations.html.
When requesting regular exam booklets, indicate the number of booklets needed plus no more than five percent to provide for unanticipated increases. Schools are not permitted to request exams for other schools. Based on the number of exam booklets requested, appropriate quantities of the teacher dictation copies for the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English will be included in each school’s exam shipment. The Department does not provide printed copies of the answer booklets for the RCT in Writing, the essay booklets for the English and social studies Regents Exams, scoring keys for nonrestricted exams, teachers’ directions, or English or alternative-language editions of reference tables. These materials are available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/resources/. Schools are responsible for photocopying sufficient quantities.
Exams for Students with Visual Disabilities
Braille and large-type test booklets are available for all exams and may be requested through the online examination request system. The braille and large-type test booklets requested will be included in the shipment of secure exam materials to the school. Only the exact number of copies required for the students actually taking each exam may be requested. Because of the time required for the production of braille and large-type exam booklets, the Department may not be able to fill requests for braille and large-type materials that are received after the deadline for submitting exam requests.
Sample copies of past exams and reference tables in braille and large type may be borrowed from the New York State Resource Center for the Visually Impaired, 2A Richmond Avenue, Batavia, New York 14020 (phone 585-343-5384; fax 585-344-5557). To make this loan service possible, schools are required to return all braille materials and unused large-type exams and reference tables to the Department in the Regents box after each exam period.
Exams for English Language Learners
English language learners may take State exams in mathematics, science, and social studies either in an alternative-language edition or in English, whichever is more appropriate to the student’s reading skills. During the January and June exam periods, the Regents Examinations in Integrated Algebra, Global History and Geography, United States History and Government, Living Environment, and Physical Setting/Earth Science are available in five languages other than English: Chinese (Traditional), Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. During the August exam period, these Regents Exams are available in Spanish translation. During all three exam periods, only English language editions are provided for the Regents Examinations in Algebra 2/Trigonometry, Comprehensive English, Geometry, Physical Setting/Chemistry, and Physical Setting/Physics. All translated editions of Regents Exams can be requested using the online examination request system.
Alternative-language editions of the RCTs are available for English language learners who are eligible for the RCT Safety Net. The alternative-language editions of the RCTs are available only in restricted form and are not direct translations of the English language editions that will be administered during the same exam period. The alternative-language editions of the RCTs cannot be requested online. These editions must be requested in a letter signed by the principal and faxed to OSA at 518-474-2021. The letter must specify the exact quantity of each test needed in each language.
The translated editions of Regents Exams are direct translations of the English editions that will be administered during the same exam period, so students identified as English language learners may be permitted to use both editions simultaneously. Because the alternative-language editions of the RCTs in Mathematics, Science, Global Studies, and United States History and Government are not direct translations of the English language editions, students may not be given both. Schools may not request both the English and the alternative-language editions of an RCT for individual students. Students may not be provided with both editions of the test and then be allowed to choose which edition they wish to take. The decision concerning which edition to administer must be made before test materials are requested.
Restricted Forms of Exams
Certain exams may be provided only in restricted form. For restricted editions, each test booklet is numbered and then shipped to the school and returned to the Department in a sealed envelope. Information concerning the exams that will be available in restricted form is provided to school administrators on the exam schedule and in the memorandum that is sent to them regarding the procedures for requesting and storing State exams.
Schools must request the exact number of restricted test booklets required since all copies, whether used or unused, must be returned to the Department. Request one booklet for each student to be tested. Also request one additional copy for each proctor who will be reading the test to a student with a disability in accordance with a student’s Individualized Education Program (IEP) or Section 504 Accommodation Plan (504 Plan).
The Regents Examinations in Physical Setting/Chemistry, Physical Setting/Earth Science, and Physical Setting/Physics require the use of reference tables provided on the Department’s web site. Students taking these exams may use no other reference materials.
These reference tables are separate publications. The Department does not provide printed copies of the regular and translated-edition reference tables. Schools are required to use the online versions to print sufficient copies to supply one clean copy of the reference table to each student during the administration of the exam. Note that the Department will continue to provide schools with the braille and large-type editions of reference tables in the shipment of secure test materials.
The regular and translated-edition reference tables are available on the Department web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/reftable/.
Confirmation of Exam Requests
Within three business days after submitting an exam request, the school principal will receive an e-mail confirmation notice indicating the number of test booklets requested and the number of test booklets that will be shipped for each exam. The confirmation notice will also indicate the address of the storage location to which shipments of secure exam materials will be sent. The confirmation notice must be carefully checked against the school’s record of exams requested to ensure that the correct quantities of materials will be shipped.
Safeguarding Exam Materials
Every principal requesting State exams must provide any information or affirmations required on the online examination request system. The principal’s agreement to the security pledge on the first screen indicates understanding and agreement to comply with the exam security requirements described in this manual.
Secure exam materials must be stored in locked Regents boxes, which must in turn be stored in a Department-approved safe or walk-in vault that meets all of the specifications listed below. Newly constructed vaults, existing vaults that have been modified, or newly purchased safes must be inspected by a Department representative and approved by the Department before secure materials may be stored in any such facility. Approval of such a storage facility is contingent upon its having met all of the criteria outlined below. If a school’s safe or vault has not been approved but the administrator believes it meets the criteria outlined below, arrangements for an inspection may be made by faxing a written request on school letterhead signed by the principal to OSA (518-474-1989). Once a school’s safe or vault is approved by the Department, the principal will be notified and the secure storage location will be reflected on the School Information page of the online examination request system.
WALK-IN VAULTS must have all of the following:
- poured concrete floor
- no windows or access panels
- walls of reinforced cement block or concrete, sealed to a poured concrete floor below and structural floor or roof deck above
- metal door in a metal frame with interior or welded-pin hinges
- built-in dead-latch (deadbolt) with combination or key lock that allows exiting at all times
- steel door at least 1-1/2″ thick
- steel walls at least 1″ thick
- 750 lbs. minimum weight
- built-in combination lock
- capacity to store the Regents boxes for the school’s largest exam request (minimum acceptable unobstructed inside dimensions of 11″ × 20″ × 27″ to store one Regents box)
Principals of schools that do not have either of the above-mentioned secure storage facilities must make arrangements to store the exam materials in a Department-approved safe or vault in another school, school district building, or BOCES building and complete the Examination Storage Plan. If these arrangements cannot be made, it is the responsibility of the principal to notify OSA.
Principals who need to amend their school’s storage information must send a fax (518-474-2021) or e-mail (email@example.com) to OSA with the school name and address where the exams are to be securely stored. This office will then request written verification of the storage arrangements from the person in charge of the proposed “host” storage location before secure exam materials can be shipped to that address.
Principals should review the “School Information” page on the online examination request system to determine whether the school must submit a new Examination Storage Plan. In providing the affirmations required on the online examination request system, principals are indicating their intent to continue with the ongoing storage arrangement and reaffirming that the storage facility is in compliance with the safe and vault requirements specified in this manual. Principals who need to revise their storage plans must send a fax to OSA (518-474-2021) specifying the new location where the exams will be stored. Exams will be shipped only to school locations that have Department-approved storage facilities.
Approximately three weeks before the exams are scheduled to be administered, principals will be notified by e-mail as to when the exam materials will be shipped to the schools. Shortly before the expected delivery date(s), principals must notify all personnel who may be expected to receive exam shipment(s) that they will be delivered within the next few days and instruct them to contact the principal immediately upon receipt of the shipment(s).
After an exam shipment has been delivered, the locked Regents box(es) must immediately be placed in the department-approved safe or vault. If, for any reason, the Regents box(es) containing secure exam materials cannot be stored in the safe or vault at that location, the school administrator must contact OSA at 518-474-5902 or firstname.lastname@example.org immediately for assistance in arranging for the proper storage of the Regents box(es).
The padlock key(s) for the Regents box(es) and the combination or key to the safe or vault must be maintained under strict security conditions to preclude access to the exam materials by students and other unauthorized persons. When the safe or vault where the Regents boxes are stored is unlocked, school personnel must keep it under continuous supervision. Also, the locked Regents box(es) must be visually checked daily by the person in charge of the administration of the exams to ensure that they have not been tampered with and that the materials in them remain secure.
If the exam materials are stored in a building other than the school in which the exams will be administered, the materials for both the morning and afternoon exams of each day may be picked up from the storage location on the morning of that day. However, the materials may not be picked up from the storage location before the day on which that exam is scheduled to be administered. If the materials for both morning and afternoon sessions are picked up in the morning, the principal must ensure that the afternoon exam materials are stored in a secure location until needed for administration. Any packages containing secure materials must not be opened until the day that each exam is to be administered. Any packages containing scoring keys for morning exams must not be opened prior to 10:00 a.m. (9:15 a.m. for August exams) on the day of the exam. Any packages containing scoring keys for afternoon exams must not be opened prior to 2:00 p.m. (1:15 p.m. for August exams) on the day of the exam.
Department personnel will make random unannounced visits to some schools after the exams have been delivered to verify that the tests are being properly stored and that the packages containing exam booklets, teacher dictation copies, and scoring keys are not opened until the proper time on the day that each exam is to be administered. If a violation of exam storage procedures is found, all exam materials will immediately be removed from the school and transferred to a location designated by the Department representative. Further, the school will be required to store all exam materials at a location designated by the Department for a period of at least one year from the end of the exam period during which the violation occurred. In addition, the Department may cancel the school’s privilege to administer exams.
Shipment and Emergency Supplies of Exam Materials
Shipment of Exam Materials
Each school requesting exams may receive two or more shipments of exam materials, depending on what was requested.
The nonsecure exam materials will be shipped in cardboard cartons and will arrive at schools approximately twenty days before the exam period is to begin and, depending upon the exam titles requested by the school, may include the following:
- Earth Science Performance Test materials
- Regents diplomas
- Envelopes for returning restricted exam materials
The secure exam materials will be shipped in locked Regents boxes to the location designated in the online examination request system. School administrators may receive one shipment (Single Shipment) comprising the secure exam materials for the entire exam period or multiple shipments (Daily Delivery) consisting of one shipment for each day of the exam period. About three weeks prior to the delivery of the secure exam materials, school administrators will be informed via e-mail of the type of shipment they will receive and the date(s) on which the shipment(s) are scheduled to arrive at schools. The padlock keys will be sent to principals by first-class mail or UPS and will arrive about two to four school days before the Regents boxes are to be delivered.
Checking Receipt of Exam Materials
The principal is responsible for verifying that all materials requested by the school have been received. All shipments must be inventoried as soon as possible after delivery to the school (or alternative approved storage location). When checking the exam shipments, the principal should use the shipping notice included in the shipment, which indicates the quantity of each type of exam material that should have been included in the shipment. If the expected quantities of exam materials have not been received, contact the nearest regional center immediately to arrange to obtain the required materials. (See Emergency Supplies of Exam Materials listed next in this section.)
Under no circumstances may the sealed packages of secure exam materials (test booklets, teacher dictation copies, scoring keys, and rating guides) be opened while the inventory is being conducted. The packages may not be opened until the day of the exam, and no earlier than is necessary to permit the distribution of materials prior to the scheduled starting time.
Upon completion of the inventory, all secure exam materials for each exam must be stored in the locked Regents box in a Department-approved safe or vault until the morning of the day of the test. OSA must be notified immediately by fax (518-474-2021) or e-mail (email@example.com) if any packages of secure exam materials are not properly sealed. This office must be similarly notified if the school receives any secure exam materials over and above the quantities requested, taking into account the rounding factor used in packaging the exams.
Emergency Supplies of Exam Materials
In January, June, and August, emergency supplies of exam materials are available from regional centers throughout the State. The list of the regional centers is provided for schools on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/hsgen/ prior to each exam period. Materials will be released from the regional centers only on the day of each exam. Secure materials for morning exams will be released in the morning; secure materials for afternoon exams will not be released until after 11:00 a.m. Scoring keys will not be released by regional centers until after the Uniform Statewide Admissions Deadlines which are specified later in this section.
In order to obtain exam materials at a regional center, an individual must present a letter of authorization written on school letterhead and signed by the principal. The letter must identify the person picking up the materials and list the specific materials requested. Anyone obtaining exam materials must provide identification with a photograph and countersign the authorization letter before the exam materials will be released.
Preparations for Testing
Instructions for Proctors
Specific instructions for administering each Regents Exam are provided in a separate publication, Directions for Administering Regents Examinations. Separate detailed directions for administering and scoring are also provided for each RCT. These materials are available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/hsgen/. Principals should print enough copies to provide them to teachers who will be responsible for proctoring and/or scoring these exams several days in advance of the Regents Exam period so they have sufficient time to familiarize themselves with their contents.
Orientation of Proctors
The principal must appoint a chief proctor for each room in which an exam is administered and sufficient deputy proctors to maintain adequate supervision of students at all times. If both boys and girls are to take the exam, both male and female proctors must be in attendance.
Several days before the exam period, the specific directions for administering and scoring the exams must be distributed to all school personnel who will be responsible for proctoring and/or scoring these exams.
A proctor orientation session must be held before the beginning of each exam period, during which the principal or the principal’s designee can disseminate any special administrative information concerning the exam period and ensure that the proctors are familiar with the administrative procedures for the exams they will be administering.
All proctors must enforce in every particular the Department’s regulations for administering exams. Each proctor must complete and sign the Deputy and Proctor Certificate to indicate that the rules and regulations for administering exams were properly observed.
Materials Provided by the School and by Students
If not using the answer sheet supplied as the last page of the test booklet for the RCTs in Mathematics, Science, Reading, Global Studies, and United States History and Government, the school must furnish each test taker with a similar answer sheet designed for use with the test.
The Department does not provide printed copies of the RCT Writing answer booklet, the essay booklet for the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English, or the essay booklet for the Regents Exams in social studies. These booklets are available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/resources/. Schools must print enough copies to supply one to each student.
The Department does not provide printed copies of the regular and translated edition reference tables. Schools are responsible for providing one clean copy of the regular and translated edition reference tables for the Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science and the regular edition reference tables for the Regents Examinations in Physical Setting/Chemistry and Physical Setting/Physics to each student taking these exams. Note that the Department will continue to provide the large-type and braille editions of these reference tables to schools in the shipment of secure exam materials.
The school must provide scrap paper for student use for all secondary-level State exams except for the Regents Exams in mathematics. (Students are not permitted to use scrap paper for Regents Exams in mathematics unless this is indicated as an accommodation on the student’s IEP or 504 Plan.) Schools should also have a supply of coordinate graph paper available for students taking the Regents Exams in mathematics who request it in order to change their work on graphs.
Students should be informed before the day of the exam that they are expected to provide their own pens, pencils, erasers, and rulers.1 Information concerning the use of calculators and reference materials by students is provided later in this section under the headings Use of Calculators, Administering Exams to English Language Learners, and Reference Materials for Exams.
1 Schools may permit students to use highlighters when taking State exams. Proctors must monitor student use of highlighters to ensure that they are not being used by students to record their responses to questions that must be answered in pencil or pen and that the use of the highlighters does not obscure the students’ responses to open-ended questions.
Preparation of the Exam Room
The room in which State exams are administered should be well lit, well ventilated, and quiet. Preparations must be made before the testing period to keep noise and other distractions to a minimum. A “Do Not Disturb” sign may be placed on the door to prevent interruptions.
If exams are to be administered in a classroom, the teacher using the room must be instructed to make sure that it has been properly prepared. Desks and any shelves underneath them must be clear of all books, papers, and other materials. Charts or maps on the walls and all board work pertinent to the subject being tested must be completely covered or removed.
Seating arrangements must be made in advance so that each student will be clearly visible to the proctor at all times and so there will be no opportunity for any communication between students.
Machine-Scorable Answer Sheets
Schools are required to use uniform machine-scorable answer sheets developed by the Regional Information Centers (RICs) throughout the State, in consultation with the Department. Schools must make the necessary arrangements to obtain machine-scorable answer sheets and scanning services for all Regents Exams from a RIC or large-city scanning center.
The uniform answer sheets contain several grids with spaces for recording various types of student identification information. The school, with assistance from the RIC or large-city scanning center, must develop uniform written directions about the completion of these grids and provide these directions to all teachers administering the exams. Such directions should be based on careful consideration of the student and score information needed, as well as on the processing requirements of the scoring center that the school is using. Schools must also develop directions to students on what writing implement to use and how to fill in the answer sheets. These directions must be provided to all proctors administering the exams. Schools may not require students to record their responses for the same multiple-choice questions on more than one answer sheet for any State exam.
All answer sheets provided by RICs or large-city scanning centers should be scanned only once in order to preserve answer sheet quality for audit purposes. If a school elects to scan its own answer sheets, it must use the uniform answer sheet provided by the regional scanning center and provide a data file to its scanning center in a format that is compatible with the center’s data system. Scanning should occur within three months of the administration of the Regents Exams.
The Department provides a hand-scorable answer sheet as the last page of the RCT booklet.
A student who is scheduled to take more than one exam during the same session may do so provided that the principal is satisfied that exercising this option would not be detrimental to the student’s academic interests. However, a student may not be allowed more time than the standard three hours for each Regents Exam solely because of an exam conflict.
Students must take each Regents Exam on the day that it is scheduled for administration. Students taking more than one exam during the same session should be sequestered in a separate location and must be kept under close school supervision. School officials must prevent the possibility of any communication between the examinee and students who either have already taken or will be taking the same exam(s) as the examinee. Arrangements must be made for supervised lunch and rest periods, and the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadlines must be strictly observed.
In order to assist a student who encounters a schedule conflict between a Regents Exam and an RCT, please refer to the memorandum regarding a rescheduling option to schools administering RCTs to students with disabilities. This memorandum is available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/rct1003.htm.
Conducting the Exams
The specific hours during which Regents Exams and RCTs must be administered are indicated on the exam schedules and may also be indicated on the exam booklets. During the regular school year, exams are scheduled for 9:15 a.m. or for 1:15 p.m. In August, exams are scheduled for 8:30 a.m. or for 12:30 p.m. To allow sufficient time for giving directions and distributing exam materials, students should be instructed to be in their seats at least 15 minutes before the time specified for starting each exam.
All Regents Exams are scheduled for administration during a three-hour exam session and proctors must ordinarily conclude each exam exactly three hours after the actual starting time. Special arrangements must be made to allow additional time for eligible students. (See Administering Exams to English Language Learners and Administering Exams to Students with Disabilities found later in this section.) Although RCTs are scheduled for administration during a 3-hour exam session, there is no time limit for these tests.
At the discretion of the principals, schools may begin secondary-level exams earlier than the specified time. Regardless of the starting time, no student shall be permitted under any circumstances to hand in his or her test materials and leave the exam room before the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadlines. Any student who leaves leave the exam room before the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadlines listed below will have his or her test invalidated and no score will be entered.
|Morning Examinations||Afternoon Examinations|
|January/June||10:00 a.m.||2:00 p.m.|
|August||9:15 a.m.||1:15 p.m.|
All students who arrive at the exam room before the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadline must be admitted to the exam, even if the students arrive after the scheduled starting time. Students who arrive at the exam after the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadline, but who have been under the supervision of school personnel since the admission deadline, may be admitted to the exam only if the principal is certain that the students did not have an opportunity to exchange information with students who have already left the exam.
The purpose of the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadlines is to eliminate any possibility of the exchange of information between students at different exam centers. All school principals must strictly comply with these regulations. It is recommended that schools provide students and their parents with written notice of this policy in advance of the tests.
Latecomers for Regents Exams are not generally entitled to have the closing time extended. However, if students started late because of extenuating circumstances beyond their control, the principal is permitted, but not required, to extend the closing time of the exam for these students. Schools are permitted but not required to repeat the listening comprehension section of the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English to students who have missed this section due to their late arrival. Further, when an exam is administered under special conditions to a student who is injured or ill or who has a disability, the time may be extended at the discretion of the principal to allow the student reasonable time to complete the exam. For more information on this topic, see Administering Exams to Students with Disabilities later in this section.
Students admitted late to RCTs must be given as much time as needed to complete the tests due to the fact that there is no time limit for them.
Use of Calculators
Schools must ensure that each student has the appropriate type of calculator when taking one of the secondary-level State exams specified below.
The memory of any student’s calculator with programming capability must be cleared, reset, or disabled when the student enters the testing room. If the memory of a student’s calculator is password-protected and cannot be cleared, the calculator may not be used. Any applications that have been added to graphing calculators must be removed. No students may use calculators that are capable of symbol manipulation or that can communicate with other calculators through infrared sensors or any other means, nor may students use operating manuals, instruction or formula cards, or other information concerning the operation of calculators during the exams. Symbol manipulation calculators are calculators capable of doing symbolic algebra or symbolic calculus (for example, factoring, expanding, or simplifying given variable output).
RCT in Mathematics. Students with disabilities may use calculators when taking this test only if the use of these devices is included as a testing accommodation in the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. These students may use any type of calculator that is specified in the IEP or 504 Plan that meets the specifications noted in the preceding paragraph.
Mathematics Regents Exams. Students taking Regents Examinations in Integrated Algebra, Geometry, and Algebra 2/Trigonometry must have a graphing calculator without symbol manipulation. Symbol manipulation calculators are calculators capable of doing symbolic algebra or symbolic calculus (for example, factoring, expanding, or simplifying given variable output).
Science Regents Exams. For the Living Environment Exam, all students who wish to use a four-function or scientific calculator must have one available. All students taking the Physical Setting/Chemistry and Physical Setting/Earth Science Exams must have a four-function or scientific calculator. Students are not permitted to use graphing calculators when taking the Living Environment, Physical Setting/Chemistry, or Physical Setting/Earth Science Exams. All students taking the Physical Setting/Physics Exam must have a scientific or a graphing calculator without symbol manipulation. Symbol manipulation calculators are calculators capable of doing symbolic algebra or symbolic calculus (for example, factoring, expanding, or simplifying given variable output).
Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science. The Physical Setting/Earth Science Exam includes a performance test that must be administered during the last two weeks of the course and no later than the day before the written exam. This performance test must be administered to each student in one continuous block of time in one day. Printed materials for the administration of the Earth Science Performance Test are shipped to schools approximately one month before the Regents Exam period. Teachers are expected to administer the performance test in compliance with all instructions provided in the teacher directions.
Students Repeating the Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science. Students retaking the written test of the Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science must also retake the performance test. Only the performance test score earned by the student in the weeks immediately preceding the written exam may be used to determine the student’s final exam score for the Regents Examination in Physical Setting/Earth Science.
Distribution of the Teacher Dictation Copy
The Regents Comprehensive Examination in English has a listening passage. The Teacher Dictation Copy should be distributed no earlier than one hour prior to the scheduled starting time to the teachers who will administer the exam. This will give teachers sufficient time to familiarize themselves with the material before the beginning of the exam.
Rules for Proctoring
Identification of Students. Plans must be made before the administration of State exams to verify the identity of each student entering the exam room, especially students who are not enrolled in the school in which they are taking exams. Accurate records must be kept of the students who take each exam so it will be possible to confirm the presence or absence of a student for each exam administered.
Checking for Unauthorized Materials. Students who are taking State exams must be under close supervision at all times during the exam session. When students enter the exam room, all materials brought into the exam room must be inspected to make sure that the materials do not contain any unauthorized notes, electronic devices, or printed material that would give the user an unfair advantage. The materials that students are permitted to bring into the exam room are identified in this section of this manual under the heading Materials Provided by the School and by Students.
Obtaining Information from or Giving Information to Other Students. Students must not be permitted to obtain information from or give information to other students in any way during the exam. If, in the opinion of the proctor, such an attempt has occurred, the students should be warned that any further attempts will result in the termination of their exams. If necessary, the students should be moved to another location. In order to allow for all possible outcomes of procedural due process, the student should be allowed to complete the exam. If the steps described above fail to end attempts to obtain or give information, the principal should be notified immediately and the students’ exams terminated. At the conclusion of the exam, all suspected acts of fraud must be reported to the principal. Pursuant to Section 102.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, no score may be earned by a student who, in the judgment of the principal, has attempted to obtain aid from or give aid to another student or has otherwise committed fraud during an exam.
Student Use of Communications Devices. All students are prohibited from bringing cell phones and certain other electronic devices, as defined in the script below, into a classroom or other location where a State exam is being administered. Test proctors, test monitors, and school officials shall retain the right to collect and hold any prohibited electronic devices prior to the start of the test administration. Admission to the test shall be denied to any student who is in possession of a cell phone or other prohibited electronic device and refuses to relinquish it.
At the beginning of each test administration, proctors must read the following statement to all students taking secondary-level State exams:
For Principals and Proctors:
- Any student observed with any prohibited device while taking a State exam must be directed to turn it over to the proctor or monitor immediately. To allow for all possible outcomes of procedural due process, the student should be allowed to complete the exam. The incident must be reported promptly to the school principal. If the principal determines that the student had a prohibited device in his or her possession during the test administration, the student’s test must be invalidated. No score may be calculated for that student.
- The incident must be promptly reported, in writing, to OSA by fax to 518-474-1989 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, as is the case for all student-related testing irregularities, misadministrations, or other violations of State testing policy and procedures.
Note: Some students with disabilities may use certain recording/playback devices ONLY IF this accommodation is specifically required as a provision of the student’s IEP or 504 Plan. In addition, a student may be allowed to retain an otherwise prohibited device in his or her possession if there is documentation on file at the school from a medical practitioner that the student requires such a device during testing. Without such documentation, the general policy on communications devices as provided above is in effect, and the school may not allow the student to retain any such equipment while testing.
Proctoring. Proctors must circulate periodically around the room during the administration of each exam to ensure that students are recording their responses to exam questions in the proper manner. While circulating around the room, proctors should point out to students when they have left one or more answers blank or when they do not appear to be recording their answers in the proper place or appear to have provided more than one answer for a single multiple-choice question.
For Regents Exams, no additional time, beyond three hours, may be provided to students to transfer answers from test booklets to answer sheets at the end of the test and no one other than the student may transfer answers marked in his/her test booklet to a multiple-choice answer sheet. This does not apply to students who have an IEP or 504 Plan which allows scribes to transfer answers from the test booklet to an answer sheet.
Aid to Students. No one, under any circumstances, may interpret or explain exam questions to any student, nor may anyone comment to a student on the correctness or sufficiency of the student’s response while the exam is in progress. In response to inquiries by students concerning the meaning or interpretation of questions on State exams, proctors may advise students only to use their own best judgment.
Clock. A clock should be in sight of all students. If this is not possible, it is the duty of the proctors to indicate the time on the board at intervals not exceeding one-half hour throughout the exam session.
Temporary Absence from Exam Room. No student may be permitted to leave and then return to the exam room during any session of the exam unless accompanied by a proctor. Students who withdraw from the sight of the proctor during any exam session must have their exams for that session terminated. Any exam paper that is removed from the exam room without authorization must be invalidated.
Emergency Evacuation of a School Building. Evacuation of a school building during an exam may be required because of an emergency, such as a fire alarm or a bomb threat. In any situation in which the safety of students is endangered, the principal has full authority to interrupt the exam immediately. If possible, the students should be kept under continuous supervision during the emergency and advised that they may not converse with each other. If it becomes feasible for testing to resume, students may be permitted to continue taking their interrupted test only if the students had been kept under continuous supervision and were not permitted to speak with each other during the interruption. In these circumstances, the ending time for the test should be adjusted so the students are given the full allotment of time for the exam. Following the exam, a written report of the circumstances must be sent by mail or fax (518-474-2021) to OSA.
Preserving the Integrity of Students’ Responses. No one, under any circumstances, including the student, may alter the student’s responses on the test once the student has handed in his or her test materials.
Preserving Integrity of the Test Materials. Staff are not permitted to discuss test questions or other specific test content with each other, with others online via e-mail or LISTSERV, or through any other electronic means. Proctors may not use cell phones or other electronic devices to duplicate test materials. Test books cannot be opened prior to the distribution of tests to students.
Proctors, teachers and administrators who fail to adhere to the policies and procedures of the Department risk discipline. Teachers and administrators who engage in inappropriate conduct with respect to administering and scoring State exams may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with Sections 3020 and 3020-a of Education Law or to action against their certification pursuant to Part 83 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education.
Handling of Students’ Completed Exam Materials
When a student has completed a State exam, the student’s answer materials should be collected and confirmed, or “checked in,” by a proctor and logged in to a list of examinees before that student is permitted to leave the testing room. When they are hand scored, answer papers for all State exams must remain in the custody of teachers or administrators in the school building or regional scoring site until the rating process is complete and scores are recorded on the students’ permanent records. When student papers are scored in cooperation with another school, answer papers may be transported to the cooperating school for scoring. It remains the principal’s responsibility to ensure the security of all student answer papers while they are out of the building. Answer papers that are sent to a scanning center for scoring may be stored either at the scanning location or in the schools where the exams were administered, as long as storage conditions are maintained that will not limit the principal’s access to an individual student’s answer paper. As an additional precaution, all scrap paper should be retained until all exam scores have been recorded.
If a student’s answer paper is lost, the principal or superintendent must conduct an inquiry and file a written report with OSA by e-mail to email@example.com. This report must include
- a description of the loss or disappearance, including a list of all students whose papers are missing;
- the exam title and administration date;
- the likely cause of the loss or disappearance; and
- the steps that will be taken to prevent a similar occurrence in the future.
Pursuant to Section 102.5 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, each student taking a Regents Exam or RCT (other than the RCT in Writing) is required to sign the following declaration:
I do hereby affirm, at the close of this exam, that I had no unlawful knowledge of the questions or answers prior to the examination, and that I have neither given nor received assistance in answering any of the questions during the examination.
The declaration for the RCT in Writing has been modified since it must be signed at the beginning of the exam session.
The declaration for each exam is printed on the answer paper or the student information sheet provided by the Department for that exam. Proctors must check to be sure that each student has signed the declaration before the student leaves the exam room. The declaration can be signed with a pencil or a pen. Exam papers lacking a signed declaration must not be scored until the student’s signature has been obtained.
Under Section 8.5 of the Rules of the Board of Regents, fraud includes the use of unfair means in taking an exam; giving aid to or obtaining aid from another person during an exam; alteration of any Regents credential; and intentional misrepresentation in connection with exams or credentials. Section 225 of the Education Law makes fraud in exams a misdemeanor, whether perpetrated by a student, by a teacher or administrator, or by any other person.
Students can be said to have committed fraud only when there is evidence that they attempted either to obtain or give aid while taking an exam. Students who violate one of the prescribed State and/or local policies for taking exams, but did not attempt either to obtain or give aid, may not be found to have committed fraud. For example, if a student leaves the exam room without the permission of a proctor, but is under the supervision of school personnel at all times while out of the room and there is no evidence that the student attempted to either obtain or give aid, the student may be disciplined only for leaving the exam room without permission and not for having committed fraud.
Pursuant to Section 102.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, if, in the judgment of the principal, a student has committed or attempted to commit fraud during a State exam, the principal must cancel the student’s exam. Before any penalty may be applied pursuant to Section 102.4, the student accused of fraud must be given an opportunity to make satisfactory explanations and to meet with the local board of education or its designee. The student, together with the student’s parent(s) or guardian and (if so desired by the parents) an attorney, shall be given the opportunity to ask questions of the school officials and any other person having direct personal knowledge of the facts.
A student who has been judged by the principal to have committed or attempted to commit fraud must be excluded from any subsequent exams until he or she has demonstrated by exemplary conduct and citizenship, to the satisfaction of the principal, that he or she is entitled to restoration of this privilege. When an exam is canceled, no score may be entered on the student’s permanent record. The principal shall report promptly to OSA via fax to 518-474-1989 the name of each student penalized under Section 102.4, together with a brief description of circumstances and the final action taken.
Reporting Testing Misconduct and Irregularities to the Department
The principal is responsible for all aspects of the school’s administration of State exams and must take appropriate measures both to prevent, as much as possible, and to investigate all irregularities associated with the administration and scoring of these exams.
Reporting Student Testing Misconduct and other Testing Irregularities
The principal must report the following misconduct by students and testing irregularities in writing on school letterhead to OSA via fax to 518-474-1989 or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org:
- All student infractions of the Department’s policy prohibiting the possession or use of cell phones and other communications devices during State exams.
- All confirmed cases of students having committed fraud on State exams.
- All interruptions of testing sessions including those caused by power outages or fire alarms.
- All instances in which a State exam is administered without Department authorization at a time outside the published Statewide schedule.
- All instances in which a school does not conform to the Uniform Statewide Admission Deadline in administering a State exam.
- All instances in which scorers do not rate State exams in accordance with the scoring materials provided by the Department.
- All cases in which student answer papers are lost prior to the recording of the scores in students’ permanent records.
Mandatory Reporting of Testing Improprieties by Adults
The Department's Test Security Unit (TSU) handles all reports of testing improprieties by adults involved in the administration and scoring of State assessments. School officials and personnel are required to report any incident of testing misconduct by an educator or other adult involved in testing. Reports should be made via the TSU website at http://www.highered.nysed.gov/tsei/ by submitting the incident report form located on the main page under "Report Educator Test Fraud." The following are examples of improper testing conduct that must be reported to the TSU:
- All suspected or confirmed cases of a school official or staff member giving aid to students during a State exam or altering student responses on an exam paper.
- All cases in which a school official or staff member alters or otherwise misrepresents a student’s earned exam score during scoring, recording, or reporting.
- Any instance of an administrator or teacher instructing another administrator or teacher to alter or interfere with a student’s exam score.
Administering Exams to English Language Learners
Schools may provide the following testing accommodations to English language learners:
- Time Extension. Schools may extend the test time for English language learners. Principals may use any reasonable extensions, such as “time and a half” (the required testing time plus half that amount), in accordance with their best judgment about the needs of the English language learners. Principals should consult with each student’s classroom teacher in making these determinations.
- Separate Location. Schools are encouraged to provide optimal testing environments and facilities for all students. They may administer Regents Exams to English language learners individually or in small groups in a separate location.
- Third Reading of Listening Selection. Proctors may read the listening passage of the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English a third time to English language learners.
- Bilingual Dictionaries and Glossaries. English language learners may use bilingual dictionaries and glossaries when taking Regents Exams. The bilingual dictionaries and glossaries may provide only direct translations of words. Bilingual dictionaries or glossaries that provide definitions or explanations are not permitted.
- Simultaneous Use of English and Alternative-Language Editions. For Regents Exams for which the Department provides written translations, English language learners may use both an English and an alternative-language edition of the test simultaneously. However, they should be instructed to record all of their responses in only one of the two editions. The alternative-language editions of the RCTs provided by the Department are often not direct translations of the English-language editions: student may not be given both. The alternative-language edition used by the student should be so indicated on the student’s answer sheet.
- Oral Translation for Lower Incidence Languages. Schools may provide English language learners with an oral translation of a Regents Exam when there is no translated edition provided by the Department. This accommodation is permitted for State exams in all subjects except English. All translations must be oral, direct translations of the English editions. Written translations are not allowed. No clarifications or explanations may be provided. Translators should receive copies of the English edition of the tests one hour prior to administration. The Department’s Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (phone 518-474-8775) and the Regional Bilingual Education Resource Networks (RBE-RNs), formerly BETACs, can assist schools in locating suitable translators. A list of RBE-RNs is available at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/biling/bilinged/betac.html.
- Writing Responses in the Native Language. English language learners making use of alternative-language editions or of oral translations of Regents Exams may write their responses to the open-ended questions in their native language. Scoring the tests is the responsibility of the school. However, the Department’s Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies and the RBE-RNs can assist schools in locating persons who can translate the students’ responses into English to facilitate scoring of the answer papers.
Former English Language Learners
Schools also may provide the testing accommodations listed above under the heading “Administering Exams to English Language Learners” only to former English language learners who were identified as English language proficient based on their scores on one of the two most recent administrations of the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT). These accommodations may not be provided to former English language learners who were identified as English language proficient prior to the two most recent administrations.
Administering Exams to Students with Disabilities
Students Who Incur Disabilities Shortly Before Test Administration
Principals may provide testing accommodations for general education students who experience the onset of a short-term disability (e.g., incur an injury such as a broken arm) or a long-term disability (either cognitive or physical) acquired or diagnosed within 30 days prior to the administration of State exams. In such cases, when sufficient time is not available for the development of an IEP or a 504 Plan, principals may authorize certain accommodations that will not significantly change the skills being tested. These accommodations are limited to:
- extending the time limit for an exam,
- administering the exam in a special location,
- recording the student’s answers in any manner (When answering questions on the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English, students receiving this accommodation must provide all punctuation, the spelling of difficult words, paragraphing, etc.), and
- reading the test to the student. (This accommodation is allowed only for students whose vision is impaired. Tests that measure reading comprehension may not be read to these students.)
Eligibility for these accommodations is based on the principal’s professional discretion, but the principal is advised to confer with members of the Committee on Special Education (CSE) or with other school personnel in making these determinations. Pursuant to Section 102.3 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education, building principals are responsible for administering State exams and for maintaining the integrity of exam content and programs in accordance with directions and procedures established by the Commissioner of Education.
Prior permission need not be obtained from the Department to authorize testing accommodations for general education students. However, a full written report concerning each authorization must be sent to OSA via fax to 518-474-1989. The report must be on school letterhead, must be signed by the principal, and must include the following information:
- the name of the student,
- the title of the test,
- a brief description of the student’s injury or disability, and
- a listing of the accommodations that were authorized by the principal.
If the student is expected to continue to need testing accommodations, the principal must immediately make the appropriate referral for the consideration of an IEP or 504 Plan.
Students with Disabilities
Principals must ensure that students with disabilities receive the testing accommodations specified in their IEP or 504 Plan that are permissible on State exams. Students who have been declassified must be provided the permissible testing accommodations recommended upon declassification and documented in the notice to the Board of Education and in prior written notice to the parent. It is also recommended that a 504 Plan be considered to document recommendations for declassified students. Principals must also ensure that only the accommodations specified in each student’s IEP, 504 Plan, or those recommended upon declassification are allowed for the student. The use of these accommodations provides students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate proficiency on State exams without being limited or unfairly restricted by the disabilities.
Information concerning the administration of State exams to students with disabilities can be found in the publication Test Access & Accommodations for Students with Disabilities, Policy and Tools to Guide Decision-Making and Implementation. This publication is available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/testaccess/policyguide.htm.
Any accommodation listed in Test Access & Accommodations for Students with Disabilities may be authorized for students with disabilities in their IEP, 504 Plan, or recommended upon declassification. Questions designed to measure reading ability in English may be read or signed to students when taking the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English or the RCT in Reading. Answers to questions designed to measure writing ability in English may be recorded in an alternative manner (for example, dictation by means of a scribe or an electronic recording device). Devices with spell-checking and/or grammar-checking capability are permitted. Students with severe spelling disabilities may be exempted from spelling requirements for the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English or the RCT in Writing. The listening comprehension section may not be deleted from the Regents Comprehensive Examination in English.
The Teacher Dictation Copy may be read to the student more than the standard number of times as indicated on the student’s IEP/504 Plan; in those cases the exam must be administered in a separate location. In addition, schools may permit students with hearing impairments who are not proficient in sign language to read the Teacher Dictation Copy if indicated on the student’s IEP/504 Plan.
Detailed information pertaining to the administration of State exams over multiple days for students whose IEP requires this testing accommodation is available on the Department web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/testaccess/guidance.htm#time. Subject to a set of protocols that must be strictly observed, a principal may reschedule an RCT to the next available school day for a student with a disability who generally requires extended time to complete State exams and who is scheduled to take that RCT on the same day as another State exam. This option is not permitted for Regents Exams. Detailed information on the rescheduling option for RCTs is available on the Department web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/specialed/publications/policy/rct1003.htm.
In general, large-type exams should be administered in the same way as regular exams. Large-type exams are exact reproductions (enlarged 136%) of the regular exams. They have the same directions, questions, etc., as the regular exams. They may be administered in the same room at the same time and with the same directions as those used for the regular exams. Schools should limit all requests for large-type editions to the exact quantities needed for students requiring this accommodation, that is, students who are actually provided instructional materials (e.g., textbooks), locally developed tests, etc., in large-type format.
The braille exams require no special directions to students. The proctor administering a braille exam does not need to be able to read braille. The exam booklet provides the student with complete directions and descriptions. The questions on braille exams are the same as those on the printed exams with certain exceptions, which are described in the following paragraph. The questions are numbered the same as those on the printed exams. Separate or special answer sheets are not provided with copies of braille exams. The student may answer the questions in any manner appropriate and familiar to the student. The student may write, type, or braille the answers, dictate them to a proctor or to a recorder, or use any combination of these methods.
When the Department transcribes an exam into braille, questions that contain material that cannot be reproduced in a manner understandable to a visually-impaired student are modified. The questions are reworded or replaced with questions that measure skills similar to those measured by the original questions. In these situations, the Department provides teachers with special notices advising them of the modification(s) and any resulting scoring change(s) that may be necessary. Unless otherwise noted, the scoring key provided by the Department can be used for both the printed and braille editions of the exam.
The regular exam booklet should be used when a proctor reads an exam to a student with a disability. The principal should provide the proctor with an exam booklet no earlier than one hour in advance of the required starting time so that the proctor can become familiar with the exam questions before reading them to the student.
In cases where test questions are to be read, the entire test must be read, including reading passages, open-ended and multiple-choice questions. The test must be read in a neutral manner, without intonation or emphasis, and without otherwise drawing attention to key words or phrases. Passages and questions must be read word for word, without any clarification or explanation. However, such content may be read more than once.
Reference Materials for Exams
All information normally provided to students taking an exam must be provided for students with disabilities. All reference materials for Regents Exams (e.g., tables, charts, and graphs) are available in large-type and braille. These materials will be supplied with the braille or the large-type exams. When an exam is read to a student in accordance with the student’s IEP or 504 Plan, the proctor may read the required reference information to the student as long as it does not give the student an unfair advantage.
No student may use an English language dictionary or thesaurus, either printed or electronic, during a State exam.
Safeguarding Exam Materials
Extreme care must be taken to ensure that all restricted exams can be accounted for at all times. Administrators should make a written record of individual booklet numbers to accompany the transfer of exams to and from the deputies and proctors. Under no circumstances may the exams be left unattended.
Each restricted exam booklet will be sealed in an envelope, which must be distributed to the student with the seal intact. Each student is to break the seal of the envelope at the time designated. Deputies, proctors, and teachers are not permitted to open an envelope containing a test booklet or to examine a test booklet for any reason other than to read questions to students with disabilities whose IEPs or 504 Plans call for this accommodation.
Administering Restricted Exams
Detailed directions for administering and scoring restricted exams are provided in separate publication available on the Department’s web site at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/assessment/hsgen/. Principals should print copies of these directions and distribute them to each teacher administering restricted exams several days before the exam period.
All restricted exam booklets, both used and unused, scrap paper, and reference tables must be returned to the Department. Rating guides for Part 2 of the restricted editions of the RCTs in social studies must also be returned in the Regents box.
Replacing Defective Booklets. If a student receives a defective exam booklet, the proctor should provide the student with a new envelope, if one is available. If no extra envelope is available, call 518 474 8220 for instructions. After receiving the new envelope, the student should break the seal and write the new exam booklet number on the answer sheet above the old number. The student should then seal the defective exam booklet in its original envelope. The proctor should write “contains defective booklet” on the sealed envelope. All defective booklets should be reported in writing to OSA. The report should include the name of the student and the booklet number. The same procedure should be followed for a defective answer sheet.
Students with Disabilities. Restricted forms of exams are available in both large-type and braille and may also be read to students with disabilities. When administering a restricted form to students with disabilities, a proctor should follow the same procedures as those followed when administering nonrestricted forms to students with disabilities. See Administering Exams to Students with Disabilities, found earlier in this section. In addition, the proctor should follow the special procedures outlined in the preceding sections for administering restricted exams to general education students.
English Language Learners. When a restricted form of an exam is administered to an English language learner who requires the services of a translator, the guidelines for translators, found earlier in this section, must be followed. Both the student and the translator are allowed to read the questions in the exam booklet.