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Meeting of the Board of Regents | December 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009 - 9:00am

sed seal                                                                                                 





John B. King, Jr.


Assessment Policy


December 7, 2009


Goal 1






Issue for Decision

Should the Board of Regents approve the recommendations to redesign the NYS Assessment Program to incorporate formative and interim assessments, increase rigor, and expand to new 21st century “literacies?”  (Note: The implementation timeline will depend on the availability of the requisite resources.)


Reason(s) for Consideration


To prepare all students for college, the global economy, 21st century citizenship, and lifelong learning, our P-20 educational system must undertake systemic change that requires revision of the current State Testing Program. An effective assessment system provides: (a) evidence of each student’s progress in mastering the fundamental skills and knowledge required at the appropriate grade level; (b) timely, accurate, and actionable information on the basis of which teachers can design and implement differentiated instructional strategies; and (c) performance-based opportunities for students to demonstrate metacognitive thinking skills, the capacity to conduct research, the ability to engage in effective teamwork, the ability to present work in multiple formats, and 21st century literacies (including the use of multimedia technology).  In order to ensure the quality, rigor, and depth of the assessment system, greater emphasis must be placed on performance (e.g., open ended questions, essays, research, hands-on experiments, and the effective use of multimedia platforms) with consistent evaluation criteria across the state. School districts need to implement a comprehensive assessment system comprised of formative, interim, and summative assessment strategies that are aligned with rigorous college and career-ready standards. 


Background Information

The New York State Assessment Program (NYSAP) is designed to meet the policies and requirements of the Board of Regents and the United States Department of Education (USED). The NYSAP is comprised of the State’s Regents High School Examinations (End of Course), the Grades 3-8 Testing Program in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, elementary and intermediate assessments in science and social studies, an intermediate assessment in foreign language, the New York State Alternate Assessment (NYSAA) for severely disabled students, and the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) for English Language Learners (required for Title III).  All required elementary, intermediate, and secondary Title I Assessments (ELA, math, science, and the alternate assessment) have undergone a formal USED Title I Peer Review and the State is Fully Approved. 

New York State is committed to enhancing its testing programs through a variety of measures. The State has a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) that is comprised of independent university measurement professionals who advise the Department on all matters pertaining to testing, including but not limited to: test development; test validation; psychometric architecture; accountability system design; standard-setting; and computer-based testing.       

New York State requires all students with disabilities (SWD) and English Language Learners (ELLs) to participate in the State Testing Program with appropriate testing accommodations.

Proposals for the NYS Assessment Program

Common Core Standards Assessment Initiative: New York State will play a leadership role in the development of formative, interim, and summative assessments aligned with the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Math.

Formative and Interim Assessment Initiative:  In collaboration with the field (teachers, principals, parents, higher education, industry, experts in ELL and Special Education) NYSED will develop a comprehensive set of formative, interim, and summative assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics. These assessments will (1) reflect redesigned, sequenced, spiraled, content-rich curriculum frameworks that will clearly identify the knowledge and skills required at each grade level K-12 (including early literacy in grades K-2); and (2) provide teachers with timely, accurate, and actionable information they can use to design and implement differentiated instructional strategies.

Grades 3-8 Testing Program: Next Generation:


  • The Department is committed to strengthening its Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics testing program.  To this end, NYSED will make the tests more comprehensive by incorporating a broader range of knowledge and skills, implement vertical scaling to facilitate value-added analysis; and externally benchmark the system through periodic audits.
  • New York State is committed to ensuring that our students are prepared for higher level mathematics and science work that will prepare more graduates to pursue STEM fields. Currently, the State administers four high school level Regents Exams in Living Environment (Biology), Earth Science, Chemistry, and Physics and evaluates elementary and intermediate science achievement in grades 4 and 8. The Department proposes to design and implement a blended Grades 3-8 science testing program integrating computer-based assessment.  The tests will take advantage of advances in computer technology to stage lab simulations, do data analysis, and test scientific hypotheses.


Regents Testing Program: The Regents College & Career Readiness Working Group will make recommendations for improving the alignment of the Regents exams with college and career ready expectations.  By convening experts from early childhood, K-12 education, higher education, and industry, the Working Group will ensure that the NYS assessment system is vertically aligned and that successful graduates of the NYS school system are truly prepared for success in college and/or meaningful employment in the 21st century global economy.  As part of this effort, NYS will draw on international models of excellence in assessment that incorporate multiple measures of achievement incorporating performance (e.g., hands on science experiments, multimedia presentations, research projects, essays).


  • English: The Department currently administers one High School English Examination that is designed to be administered at the end of Grade 11.  To better inform instructional and programmatic decision-making and to facilitate value-added analysis, the Department proposes the addition of two English exams at the end of grades 9 and 10.


  • Social Studies: The Department currently administers a single High School Global Studies Examination covering two years of content.  To better inform instructional and programmatic decision-making and to facilitate value-added analysis, the Department proposes the creation of two Social Studies exams at the end of grades 9 and 10.


  • 21st Century “Literacies” (Arts, Economics, Technology):  21st century citizenship and economic competitiveness requires not only foundational knowledge and skills in the traditional core subjects (English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies), but also the capacity for innovative and creating thinking, the ability to use the technologies of the age, and an understanding of the economic forces that shape modern life.  Therefore, the Regents assessment regime will be expanded to include curriculum frameworks and matched assessments in the Arts, Economics (domestic and international), and Multimedia/Computer Technology.



Next Steps

Given the approval of the Regents of the proposed Assessment agenda, the Department will begin to craft work plans, budgets, and timelines for the design, development, and implementation of the formative, interim, and summative assessment strategies, as stated above.