Prekindergarten through Grade 12 Education

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Memo to the Field

To: District Superintendents
Superintendents of Public and Nonpublic Schools
Principals of Public and Nonpublic Schools
From: Gerald E. DeMauro
Date: November 13, 2003
Subject: Grades 4 and 8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests: Updates and Changes in Administration and Scoring

This memorandum provides updates and guidance on various test administration and scoring issues regarding the Grades 4 and 8 ELA and Mathematics Tests.

Test Administration

Field Tests

Field testing is used to ascertain the quality of test items for future use. The participation of schools in the 2003 administration of mini field tests was sufficient so as to avoid the need for field testing during the 2004 test administration cycle. Even though field tests will not be administered in 2004, trend testing will be conducted by a statistically representative sample of schools.

Trend Testing

Trend testing is used to verify the accuracy of the operational test results by providing a measure for deriving the scale scores that enables test results to be compared from one year to the next. Trend testing uses small numbers of test questions, similar to the mini field tests. Trend tests were administered in 2002 by a sample of schools and in 2003 as part of the mini field test administration. They will be administered in 2004 and 2005 by a sample of schools using the following criteria:

  • The trend tests will be administered during a 15-20 minute test session within the test administration window of the day before the operational test through the end of the make-up period. The test will be given on one day with no make-ups and can be administered any time throughout the day during regular class periods.
  • A sample of approximately 100 schools each will be selected for the ELA trend test and the Mathematics trend test. There will be two separate sample groups of 100 schools with no overlap. Schools that are selected to be part of the trend test sample are expected to participate.
  • Schools that have been selected for the ELA trend test will be contacted by CTB/McGraw-Hill during the week of November 17, 2003 and schools that have been selected to administer the Mathematics trend test will be contacted during the week of March 15, 2004.

Test Scoring

Scoring Models

The 2004 edition of the School Administrator’s Manual will contain details about scoring options for the ELA and Mathematics Tests. The manual and scoring leader handbooks will contain information about how scorers must indicate a scoring model code on the student answer sheets. The Department will analyze this data and issue guidance to schools about the appropriate scoring models that will be implemented with the new NCLB Grades 3 through 8 tests in 2006.

Under NCLB, it is anticipated that Grades 3 through 8 scoring models will be standardized for both the ELA and Mathematics Tests. Additional guidance, based on the 2004 data collection, will help prepare districts for any changes in scoring models.

Dates for Scoring and Returning of Student Answer Sheets

CTB/McGraw-Hill will not be accepting data submitted late by the scanning centers. Therefore, in order to receive their official individual student score reports from CTB/McGraw-Hill, public school districts and nonpublic schools must adhere to specific dates for scoring and returning student answer sheets to the scanning centers.

Districts and schools that return their answer sheets to the scanning centers after the specified dates will have their student scores computed by the scanning centers and reported to the Department through the LEAP system. Such schools will not receive their individual student score reports from CTB/McGraw-Hill. Student scale scores and performance levels, however, will be available from the scanning centers.

Student Answer Sheets

For the 2004 test administration, student answer sheets have been revised. These revisions will:

  • Make it easier for scorers to provide the requested information, including scoring model codes.
  • Reflect changes in scoring procedures (e.g., elimination of all condition codes except for Condition Code A, which is used when a student leaves a response blank).
  • Make it possible to indicate if a student was absent for any test session.

Adherence to Scoring Protocol

In order to maximize standardization of the scoring process, a Scoring Operations Certificate has been added to the 2004 edition of the School Administrator's Manual. Persons responsible for overall scoring operations are required to sign this certificate that states that each of the scoring procedures listed was "fully and faithfully implemented.”

Integrity of Student Responses

The following statement has been added to the 2004 edition of the School Administrator's Manual and to the Teacher's Directions:

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. Teachers and administrators who engage in inappropriate conduct with respect to administering and scoring State examinations may be subject to disciplinary actions in accordance with Sections 3018 and 3020 of Education Law.

Further Information

The 2004 Teacher's Directions for ELA and Mathematics are available on the internet at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/. The 2004 edition of the School Administrator's Manual will be available at that internet address by the end of November. Test related materials for 2003 can be found on the Archive pages for Elementary/Intermediate ELA and Mathematics. Questions on the topics raised in this memo can be sent via e-mail to emscassessinfo@mail.nysed.gov.

Last Updated: December 2, 2010