Section Five: Review of Examination Papers
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Except when a State exam has been administered in restricted form, students who have taken Regents Exams and RCTs and their parents have the right to review the students’ answer papers after the papers have been scored and the students’ grades recorded on their permanent records. Answer papers should be reviewed in the presence of the principal, or his or her designee, to ensure that the answer papers are not changed as they are being reviewed. Schools may provide copies of answer papers to students and their parents on request. If a student’s answer paper has been sent to the Department, the principal should contact OSA and the paper will be returned to the school.
Occasionally, a student or student’s parent may question the accuracy of the local rating of an answer paper. When this occurs and cannot be resolved at the school or district level, the superintendent of a public school district or the chief administrative officer of a nonpublic or charter school may arrange for the paper to be reviewed, for advisory purposes, by teachers from a neighboring school or district as obtaining feedback from neighboring teachers should help to quickly resolve any question about the accuracy of the score. If the superintendent or chief administrative officer makes a determination to correct the student’s score based on the feedback received, he or she must provide written notification to the Department. (See Finality of Exam Scores on page 2 of Section Three of this manual.)
Only when, in the superintendent’s or chief administrative officer’s judgment, such additional review has failed to resolve the rating of the answer paper, the superintendent or chief administrative officer may send the answer paper to OSA for further review. When Department content specialists’ time permits, the answer paper will be re-rated, for advisory purposes, and returned to the school, showing both the local rating and the Department rating. Answer papers will be re-rated by the Department only at the request of a superintendent of a public school district or chief administrative officer of a nonpublic or charter school and may take up to two months to complete from the date of submission.
Department Review of State Examinations
The purpose of the Department review is to ensure that all schools are following the same procedures and applying the same standards when rating State exams. Selected principals requesting State exams will receive notice concerning Department review at the conclusion of each Regents Exam period. This notice will indicate each subject for which the student answer papers must be submitted via traceable mail to the Department.
Following each administration, a random sampling procedure is used so that the subjects selected will vary from school to school and from year to year. The principal of each school is sent a “Notice of Review” for each subject for which answer papers must be promptly returned to the Department, unless the notice specifies an alternate address to which the papers must be shipped. If the exam requires the use of scannable answer sheets, submit them to the Department after they have been scanned by the RIC or large-city scanning center. The procedures below should be followed when returning answer papers:
- Package papers for each subject separately.
- Complete a “Notice of Review” form for each subject and attach it to the package of answer papers for that subject.
- Do not submit papers for review for any subject other than those indicated on the form.
When the answer papers from a school are received in the Department, a sample of the papers submitted for each exam is selected for Department review. Experienced classroom teachers, under the supervision of Department staff, review these papers. The Department re-rating may confirm the local scoring of all questions on an exam or, at times, may focus on the scoring of specific types of questions such as multiple choice or essays.
After the Department rating is completed, all answer papers submitted are returned to the schools along with a Department review report. These papers must be retained in school files for at least one year.
The Department review report shows the mean of the total raw score for parts of the test as scored by the school and by Department raters for the sampling of the school’s papers that were reviewed. It also shows the frequency and degree of discrepancy between the school scores and Department scores for parts of the test, for the total constructed-response score, and for the scale score. In addition, the report may show the mean total constructed-response scores and the mean scale scores for the sampling of the school’s papers that were reviewed.
The principal is expected to carefully review the report with the appropriate staff and to implement appropriate changes in school procedures for rating future exam administrations, including the training of raters, if there were significant discrepancies between the school scores and the Department scores.
When an exam whose answer papers have an excessive number of rating discrepancies is next administered in a school, the school may again be required to submit the answer papers for Department review to determine whether the school’s modified rating procedures have reduced the number of rating discrepancies. If the discrepancy rate is still excessive, the school may be required to adopt other corrective procedures such as scoring its answer papers for an exam subject with a consortium of teachers from other schools or districts.
When a pattern of discrepancies is identified that leads to a Department determination of suspected or corroborated fraud, such as score tampering, or disregard of the required scoring procedures, rubrics, rating guides, or scoring keys, the school or district in question may be required to submit original answer papers to the Department or other authority (e.g., BOCES or District Superintendent) while arrangements are made for third party scoring.
Principals or teachers with any questions about rating standards or procedures followed by the Department reviewers may direct such questions to OSA.