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Large School Scoring Case Study
Regents Examination

Demographic Profile

A total of 600 students, 300 for Global History and Geography and 300 for US History and Government, take the Regents examination. All teachers are canvassed to ascertain a correct number of tests; this number is based on the number of students actually attending the examination session rather than the numbers on the official rolls. Special education teachers of Global History and Geography and United States History and Government are also contacted and asked to include requests for braille and large type examinations. This school has separate social studies classes known as SDAIE (Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English) classes for ESL students. These students may opt to take the examinations in foreign languages. Teachers of these classes also submit their requests.

The Social Studies Department has ten full-time faculty members. The department chair is the testing coordinator and also a teacher. All Department members are included and the nine readers are divided into teams of three. They read assigned sections of the examination (Part II, Part IIIA, and IIIB). To date, the district has not needed any outside readers; however, on Spanish language examinations, it has been necessary to recruit guidance counselors and administrators to assist the one social studies teacher who can read Spanish. The district does not combine resources with other schools.



With three teams consisting of three members each, tasks are rotated with each examination. The high school library is reserved for four days. The library is isolated and secure from outside interruptions. But there are times when the library must be shared; for example, students may need to use the library to complete an English assignment while the scoring is going on. The room is comfortable and large enough to accommodate both groups.

The district and the teachersí association signed a sidebar to the collective bargaining agreement freeing social studies teachers from all proctoring assignments. The department, therefore, spends whatever time is necessary to complete the tasks. Scoring takes place during the school day and continues for approximately four days.

Examination proctors are given instructions to bundle completed examinations alphabetically by teacher and class period. The testing coordinator is responsible for transporting papers to and from the scoring site and securing papers overnight. It is necessary to make sure that only the coordinator or the clerical staff distributes bundles so that reading is not unnecessarily repeated. When scoring is completed, the assistant principal in charge of testing then secures papers. To minimize the amount of paper and to facilitate scoring, SCAN-TRON sheets are used and proctors are instructed to tell students to separate the answer sheet from the test book, but to copy answers from the SCAN-TRON sheet on to the answer sheet.


All raters receive the information booklet and are reminded of the scoring and record-keeping procedures. In order to track the scoring of papers, a checklist has been created that tracks each bundle of exams. Raters initial the section that has been scored and the coordinator distributes bundles so that each paper is read twice, each time by a different reader. When all parts are completed, the coordinator begins the tally process.

In the weeks prior to the examination, teachers are asked by the coordinator to fill out one rating sheet and one record sheet for each class taught. The coordinator then makes multiple copies. This ensures that each reader will receive a rating sheet with the students already listed; only scores will need to be entered. The district provides clerical help and that person assists the coordinator. The clerical assistant transfers scores from the rating sheet onto the record sheet for each class.

The team assignments are rotated as indicated earlier. While it might appear that raters who receive the Part IIIA task have a lighter load, it should be noted that the department has agreed to "committee-score" its 9th-grade Global History examination. This examination has a similar breakdown so that all teams do equal work. Members contribute to a breakfast table and all go to lunch at the same time. Most leave the building and return promptly. With a group this small, collegiality tends to be strong, and members show a keen sense of responsibility to each other.

It is possible for raters to become overly confident regarding the rating process. As tedious as that practice and review may be, it is important that raters go through the turnkey training.

Editorís Note: Large districts will have new and/or relatively recent hires who have never scored tests and who are not familiar with the scoring process. One of the purposes of the training is to achieve rating consistency. Each question is new and there are always issues unique to specific questions.

Examination proctors are given instructions to bundle completed examinations alphabetically by teacher and class period. When not being scored, all examinations are kept in the school safe. The testing coordinator is responsible for transporting papers to and from the scoring site and securing papers overnight. When scoring is completed, the assistant principal in charge of testing then secures papers. To minimize the amount of paper and to facilitate scoring, SCAN-TRON sheets are used and proctors are instructed to tell students not to separate the answer sheet in from the test booklet, but to copy answers from the SCAN-TRON sheet onto the answer sheet.



Calibration takes place when the scoring booklets are released at 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. The teams go through the essay questions, discussing the salient points of the question, and then they read anchor papers. The anchor papers are discussed and the practice papers are scored. Raters discuss discrepancies in scores and proceed to the next practice Paper.

As scoring continues, anomalies are noted and, if there are patterns in student responses not covered in the rating guide, the testing coordinator calls NYSED. Prior to the scoring session on the second day, patterns are again discussed and the generic rubric is reviewed along with a reminder that grading is holistic. It is critically important for the coordinator to keep track of discrepant papers. If an inordinate number of papers need a third reading, it might be necessary for the team to recalibrate.

As mentioned, the coordinator has developed a bundle cover sheet that is initialed upon completion. Raters are given bundles by the coordinator or the clerical assistant to ensure equity in workload and to make sure tasks are not duplicated. Papers are stored overnight in the school safe until completed and then are turned over to the assistant principal for testing.

SCAN-TRON sheets are removed from the test booklet by the testing coordinator and scored immediately. The sheets are quickly reviewed for damages or sloppy erasures. Problematic sheets are separated and compared to the answer sheet in the test booklet. The multiple choice scores are then recorded in the test booklet by the clerical staff. The coordinator records the resolved essay score on the record sheets. As rating sheets are completed, the clerical staff also records resolved grades on the answer sheets.

The coordinator, with the assistance of the clerical staff, performs the final tabulation of scores. All marginal papers are then reviewed. All SCAN-TRON sheets are reviewed. Part IIIA is reviewed. The coordinator reviews papers and score sheets to check for any mathematic or other scoring errors.  All final scored papers are returned to their original bundles with all rating and record sheets.

Post-scoring Activities

The coordinator distributes student scores to the teachers who then complete their grade reporting. The Department Chair or coordinator compiles the pass/fail statistics for the department as well as individual teacher statistics. This information is passed on to the building principal, who sends it to central administration. Administration then performs cross-tabulations to discern patterns that would assist in the improvement of instruction.

The Assistant Principal for Testing fills out the System for Tracking Educational Progress (STEP) Report and it is uploaded to the STEP Program on the BOCES RIC (Regional Information Center).

All papers are alphabetized, boxed, and turned over to the assistant principal. The boxes are kept for five years in the school safe. Teachers of AIS will consult recent papers in their remedial work with students who fail.

Teachers receive pass/fail results at the end of the testing cycle; the entire department analyzes results. The coordinator reviews each teacherís pass/fail results; implications for instructional strategies are reviewed. Results are compared to the results of other years and other cohorts. These analyses have resulted in adjustments to teaching methods. Recently this department created a standardized writing program, which established a baseline requirement for writing in all classes, addressing needs seen in past DBQ and thematic essays.

There is an informal discussion of each scoring session. Results are compared with anecdotal information shared by teachers in the hope of finding strengths as well as weaknesses. The department keeps track of discrepant papers and teams analyze cases where discrepancies occurred. Appropriate adjustments are made in the calibration process. The scoring must be completed several days before graduation. To date, deadlines have always been met.

In June there is a tendency for teachers to avoid filling out the Stateí test evaluation form, because the school closeout procedures take precedence. The testing coordinator must take an active role in encouraging all teachers to evaluate all examinations.

Students who fail the Regents examination but pass the course are recommended for AIS services. Those who fail both tasks are simply rescheduled for the course. Students with IEPs who fail the examination are contacted immediately to report for the RCT examination.

The assistant principal for testing directs all calls for papers. Appropriate forms are completed, indicating numbers tested and pass/fail numbers. Papers are sent to Measurement, Inc., for their review. If the principal chooses to change a grade, the office staff records the change and the teacher is informed.



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