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: October 31, 2003
Subject: Test Administration Policies, Elementary and Intermediate-Level State Tests - REVISED

At the beginning of this new school year, the Office of State Assessment is reminding teachers and administrators about test administration policies related to the use of scrap paper, post-it notes, and highlighters on elementary and intermediate-level State tests. According to good practice, teaching strategies used in the classroom during the school year should be consistent with the conditions that students encounter on State tests.

Scrap Paper

Scrap paper, including post-it notes, is not permitted for the elementary or intermediate-level State tests in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science. During these tests, students may make notes in any of the white spaces in the test booklet. For State examinations in Social Studies, scrap paper may be provided at the school’s discretion or at the request of a student. Be sure to collect all scrap paper at the conclusion of the test and keep it with the student’s test booklet.


Schools may permit students to use highlighters when taking State examinations. Proctors must monitor student use of highlighters to ensure that they are not being used by students to record their responses to questions that must be answered in pencil and that the use of the highlighters does not obscure the students' responses to open-ended questions.

Instructional recommendations related to elementary and intermediate-level Mathematics tests can be found at http://www.p12.nysed.gov/ciai/mst/math/instructrec/. For additional information about elementary and intermediate-level State tests, see http://www.p12.nysed.gov/osa/.

If you are unable to find an answer to your question on the web site, you may email your concerns to emscassessinfo@mail.nysed.gov.

Last Updated: December 2, 2010