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Small School Scoring Case Study
Regents Examinations

Demographic Profile

The small school case study reflects scoring for 80–110 students. One hundred to 125 tests are ordered and an occasional Spanish version may be needed. Three staff members and a teacher of grades 9 and 10 from another small local school are needed to score the tests. (This includes one 9th-grade teacher, two 10th-grade teachers, and one social studies certified special education teacher who teaches Global students). When the district need a translator, we contact our local Bilingual Education Technical Assistance Center (BETAC). A small school district may have to team with another district to comply with NYSED scoring guidelines.



The 10th-grade teachers are responsible for organizing their school’s 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. The exception to this is for students taking the tests in special locations due to modifications; those 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.

Tenth-grade teachers from each school are responsible for transporting to and storing papers at the rating site. At the rating site, papers are secured in the rating room. The 10th-grade teachers are responsible for keeping the papers secure in their home schools after they are rated, while the final paperwork is being completed.

A classroom or auditorium is used for the scoring session. If the auditorium is used, it must be requisitioned at least one month in advance through the vice-principal, and the custodians must be notified that three tables and chairs are needed. The auditorium allows for more space and is air-conditioned. One day is required to rate all of the essays. The tasks are divided as follows:

  • Multiple choice – scored by 10th-grade teacher from each school involved

  • CRQ – scored by 10th-grade teacher from each school involved

  • Thematic essay – scored by 9th-grade teacher and social studies certified special education teacher

  • DBQ essay – scored by 10th-grade teacher from each school involved

  • Resolution of conflicts – Thematic essay: 10th-grade teachers from each school involved; DBQ essay 9th-grade teacher and social studies certified special education teacher


Test Manuals for School Administrators are obtained from the principal or online from the NYSED website and reviewed. An alphabetically organized list of exam takers by class period and by test site (for students with testing modifications) is prepared by each of the 10th-grade teachers prior to giving the test.

The raters’ schedules are checked to be sure that their proctoring duties do not overlap with their rating duties. Since staff teach more than one course, it is important to be sure that the proctoring and rating assignments are equitably distributed and do not violate contractual obligations.

The papers are sorted and bundled directly following the test. Teachers sort the papers by class. Essays are separated into two piles: theme and DBQ. Each essay pile is rubber banded and two cover sheets are attached, one for rater 1 and one for rater 2. The test booklets are opened to the scaffolding questions along with a rating sheet.

After the test is given, raters are given the official rating guide and asked to review the rating guide and the test for training the next day.



Training is provided to calibrate the tasks (thematic essay, DBQ scaffolding, DBQ essay). The NYSED rating guide is reviewed for each section. For the DBQ essay, two hours are set aside at the beginning of the scoring session to discuss any issues related to the rating guides. Alternative answers are brainstormed. NYSED is contacted if something from our brainstormed answers or student responses does not fit within the NYSED guidelines or if clarification is needed. The Social Studies Department chair is responsible for this task. Training and discussion take place at the beginning of each day on which the papers are rated.

Papers are organized and read according to NYSED regulations. The papers are sorted and bundled. Different tables are designated for thematic essays and DBQs. The essays are rubber banded together along with two rating sheets, one for each rater. As a scorer completes a set of papers, he/she returns them to the table designated for thematic essays or DBQs, depending upon what he/she is rating. The bundles are moved between the tables. Raters’ sheets are kept rubber-banded to the bottom of the envelope.

If two raters have conflicting scores of more than one point, the paper is pulled from the bundle and placed on top of the envelope and the rating process is stopped. The pair of teachers not assigned to rate this set of papers read and score the discrepant paper(s).

Tenth-grade teachers are responsible for tabulating all scores (Multiple choice, thematic essay, DBQ Scaffolding, DBQ essay). The conversion chart for the test being given is obtained online from at: http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/ and the student’s final score is determined. The 10th-grade teachers record the student’s scores on the student’s answer sheet.


Post-scoring Activities

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

After all papers are organized alphabetically by class, a class sheet is placed on the bundle, and the bundle 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