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Meeting of the Board of Regents | May 2010

Monday, May 10, 2010 - 11:40pm

sed seal                                                                                                 




EMSC Committee


John B. King


Grades 3-8 ELA & Mathematics Testing Program


May 10, 2010







Issue for Decision

In response to the call for resetting the cut scores on the Grades 3-8 Testing Program to raise standards and to ensure college and career readiness for New York’s students, do the Regents approve the request to push back the release of test scores for an additional month to ensure that all necessary research and due diligence are completed?


Reason(s) for Consideration

              Review of Policy


Proposed Handling

The item will come before the Regents EMSC Committee and the Full Board of Regents for approval at the May 2010 meeting


Background Information

              In May 2009, the Regents directed that the Grades 3-8 ELA and math tests be moved from January (ELA) and March (math) to late April/early May beginning in 2010 so that the tests could cover more performance indicators. Results from those tests were slated to be returned to schools by June 24, 2010.   The Regents asked that the cut scores be adjusted to reflect higher achievement standards and ensure that the Testing Program produces valid and reliable test scores that reflect the appropriate level of rigor that will ensure college and career readiness.


Throughout the course of the past year, the Department has been working on  the research to reset cut scores for 2010; this included working with the Department’s vendor, CTB, to design an audit function to inform the decision-making process for resetting cut scores and to track possible score inflation.  During its spring meeting, the Department’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG) approved the methods that CTB proposed, but emphasized it would be significantly better to allow an additional month to collect, analyze, and utilize data from the audit study to also inform the cut score revision process.  Without this extension, it will not be possible to use the audit function results to inform the resetting of cut scores. Dan Koretz and Howard Everson agreed to conduct a series of studies concerning resetting the cut scores; these include analyzing the relationship between: 1) Grade 8 ELA and math scores with Regents cut scores; 2) NYS cut scores and NAEP; and 3) Regents exam performance with post secondary remediation rates.  This research is currently underway.

The Department is requesting an additional month to complete the research and analysis to equate and reset rigor cut scores for the Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Testing Program. Rather than returning test scores to schools by June 24, 2010, we propose returning the test scores no later than the week of July 26, 2010.  Adding an additional month to the test scoring timeline ensures that we can use the best practices recommended by the Department’s Technical Advisory Group (TAG).


A decision is needed by the Board of Regents in May so that both the field and USED can be informed of the delay as soon as possible.  Psychometric analysis, equating, cut score analysis, data reporting, score report generation, and NYstart accountability verification timelines must be reset and all impacted parties need to plan their work according to the established timeline. Staff needs to alert USED to delayed accountability determinations to ensure that the State is not penalized. School Districts need to know so they can plan their summer work for student scheduling and accountability verification accordingly.


The Board of Regents approves the recommendation below:

Given the importance of the Grades 3-8 Testing Program and the need to ensure that the tests return valid and reliable information to the States, School Districts, parents, and students, the Department will delay releasing the scores by June 24, 2010, and will release them during the week of July 26, 2010 after completing all the necessary research and due diligence.