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Medium-Size School Scoring Case Study
Social Studies Regents Examinations

Demographic Profile

The medium-size school case study reflects scoring for 350 students. Three hundred fifty to 375 tests are ordered and an occasional Spanish version may be needed. Eight to ten staff members are needed to score the tests. This includes certified social studies teachers and special education teachers who work with each grade level.



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 accommodates both groups.

The district and the teachers’ 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 number of papers 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.


Grade-level teachers are responsible for organizing papers. This is usually done alphabetically by class period. Each bundle of approximately 20 to 30 papers has the names of the students listed on the front of the envelope. Students taking the tests in special locations due to modifications are an exception to this organizational pattern. Their papers are organized alphabetically by test site. The names of the students are listed on the outside of each envelope, and these envelopes are bundled as one set of 20 to 30 papers.

Teacher created cover sheets are alphabetically ordered by class lists - the teacher’s name is at the top of the sheets. After the exam, teachers sort the exams by classes and separate the essays into thematic and DBQ piles. Test booklets are opened to the scaffolding questions and stacked. Multiple choice answer sheets are placed into a separate pile.

Rating is done on-site. The papers are secured in a locked room. The Department Chair is responsible for keeping the papers secure.

A large space with eight tables is used for the scoring session. The space and the tables must be requisitioned several months before scoring takes place.

Timetable to complete the scoring:

  • Multiple choice – less than one day

  • Scaffolding – one to two days

  • Thematic and DBQ essays – two to three days

  • Tasks assigned to complete rating:

  • Multiple choice – machine scored by Department Chair’s designee

  • DBQ scaffolding – scored by 12th-grade teacher and possibly a special education teacher

  • Thematic essay – four to five 9th- and 10th-grade teachers for both the Global, and the 10th- and 11th-grade teachers for the United States History and Government

  • DBQ essay – four to five 9th- and 10th-grade teachers for both the Global and the 10th- and 11th-grade teachers for the United States History and Government

  • Resolution of conflicts – addressed by table leaders determined by the Department Chair


    Training is provided to calibrate the tasks (Thematic Essay, DBQ, Scaffolding, DBQ Essay). The SED rating guide is reviewed for each section. At the beginning of the scoring sessions, two hours are set aside to discuss any issues related to the rating guides for the DBQ Essay,. Alternative answers are brainstormed. SED is phoned, if in our professional judgment:

    something from our brainstormed answers or student responses does not fit the SED guidelines, or

    if we need clarification

    The Social Studies Department Chair is responsible for this task. Training and discussion takes place at the beginning of each day the papers are rated.

    Papers are organized and read as per NYSED instructions. The papers are sorted and bundled. Different table are designated for thematic essays and DBQs. The essays are rubber banded together along with 2 designate theme or DBQ depending upon what he/she is rating. The bundles are moved between the tables. Rater’s sheets are kept rubber banded to the bottom of the envelope. Table leaders are responsible for reading and re-scoring discrepant papers.

    Rater sheets are turned into a tabulation table. Scores for each student for each part of the exam are entered into a laptop computer as they become available. As data is entered the final score can be computed using the conversion table and is entered into the final score column.

    Post Scoring Activities

    Scores are provided to classroom teachers to complete report cards. Scores are also reported to the administrators.

    Papers are organized by each teacher’s class. A class tabulation sheet is placed on each class bundle, and it is tied and returned to the main office for record retention.

    Failing papers are copied and maintained in the department chair’s files for future item analysis and AIS purposes.

    An informal discussion takes place between the teachers and the department chair to determine areas that may need to be strengthened to improve the instructional program as well as student performance on the exams.


    Back to New York State Social Studies Assessment