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News and Notes
Dear Colleagues,

I hope you're enjoying the end of summer and are getting ready for the back to school season. At the State Education Department, we recently released the results of the 2017 Grades 3-8 English language arts and mathematics assessments.The results were generally positive and showed modest improvements in both ELA and math, although achievement gaps remain. Also included in this edition of News and Notes is information on:
As always, thank you for all you do for the students of New York State.


MaryEllen Elia

The State Education Department recently  released the results of the 2017 Grades 3-8 English language arts (ELA) and mathematics tests. In ELA this year, the percentage of students in grades 3-8 who scored at the proficient level (Levels 3 and 4) increased by 1.9 percentage points to 39.8, up from 37.9 in 2016. In math, the percentage of students who scored at the proficient level increased this year to 40.2, up 1.1 percentage point from 39.1 in 2016.

"I'm encouraged by the mode st improvements we're seeing in our test scores," Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. "As I've always said, testing is just one piece of the puzzle to understand how students are performing. And that's why our draft ESSA plan takes a more holistic approach to accountability - an approach that looks at multiple measures of school and student success. This allows us to continually evolve and adapt so we can ensure that our systems are culturally responsive and place an emphasis on educating the whole child."

"Real progress takes time," State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. "So, the test scores we're announcing are a positive sign that we continue to steadily head in the right direction. We've taken a deliberate, inclusive and transparent approach to develop the State's draft ESSA plan as well as changes to our standards and assessments. We're confident that this careful approach will continue to yield benefits for our students."

In 2017, the statewide test refusal rate was approximately 19 percent, a decline of two percentage points from last year's refusal rate of approximately 21 percent.

foodSED Awards More than $17 Million to 44 Colleges and Universities in Liberty Partnerships Program Grants to Keep Students in School

The Liberty Partnerships Program (LPP) is New York State's only state-funded dropout prevention program directly connected to higher education which prepares students for post-secondary education and careers.

"LPP grants make it possible for colleges to create strong school and community partner ships to help keep New York's children in school and continue into higher education and careers; it's a priority for the Board of Regents and State Education Department," said Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa.

"So many of the at-risk students we're trying to encourage to stay in school don't have access to support," said Commissioner MaryEllen Elia.

Recipients of these higher education initiative grants will provide comprehensive programming for students to successfully graduate and transition into postsecondary education or a career path.

For more information, read our news release

waiversSED Releases Waivers Related to State ESSA Plan for Public Comment

The State Education Department has released three Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) waiver requests for public comment. The waivers are included in the state's draft ESSA plan and have been previously discussed with the Board of Regents and stakeholders. 

NYSED will submit the waivers to the United States Department of Education (USDE). USDE requires that states post proposed waivers for public comment prior to their submission to the USDE. The public comment period runs through September 8.

The full text of each proposed waiver is posted on the Department's ESSA webpage
The first waiver requests permission to continue to allow the state to use the results of middle school students who take a mathematics or science Regents exam, in lieu of the grade level exam, for the purposes of determining school accountability and participation. The second waiver requests permission to continue to exempt newly arrived English Language Learner/Multilingual Learner (ELL/MLL) students for one year from taking the English language arts (ELA) exam. The third waiver requests permission to assess a small number of students with the most significant cognitive disabilities, but who are not eligible for the New York State Alternative Assessment (NYSAA), with tests matched to the instructional level of the students, not to the chronological age of the students.

For more information, read our news release

OCE Office of Cultural Education Resources for Teachers