This week, we announced that Carnegie Corporation of New York will award the New York State Education Department (NYSED) a philanthropic grant of $500,000 to support a pilot project that will supplement research work related to our Graduation Measures Review initiative. The pilot project will explore the potential for New York’s educational assessment system to be reimagined in a way that purposefully fosters high-quality instructional opportunities, provides authentic measures of deeper learning, and better prepares students for college, the workplace, and citizenship. We anticipate presenting proposed pilot regulations to the Board of Regents during the 2021-22 planning year. If approved, the regulations would allow participating districts and schools to grant Regents diplomas to students on the basis of multiple measures in the future.
In February 2019, the Board of Regents and NYSED committed to a thoughtful and inclusive review of New York State’s high school graduation measures. In winter 2020, we held nearly 20 regional meetings across the state to gather feedback on what a high school diploma should signify to ensure educational excellence and equity for every student in New York State. In March 2020, the remaining meetings were postponed due to COVID-19. We are pleased to announce that this winter, NYSED and the Board of Regents will hold the remaining regional meetings virtually. Next month, we will provide additional information on when these meetings will be held.
The Board will consider the findings of the pilot program as it contemplates potential changes to Graduation Measures in New York State in the coming years. For more information about the Graduation Measures initiative, visit NYSED’s Graduation Measures website.
Later this month, NYSED will release the scores of the New York State 2020-21 grades 3-8 assessments. As parents and family members who are active participants in your children’s education, you might have questions about this past school year’s assessment results, and there are limitations to the 2020-21 assessment data that you should be aware of.
As you may recall, only students who attended school in person in Spring 2021 were required to take the state assessments. Therefore, a much smaller percentage of students took last year’s exams, and the results are not representative of the state’s student population. As such, the results of the 2020-21 assessments should not be compared statewide, by statewide subgroup, or with previous years’ exams. In addition, depending on the percentage of students who took the assessments in your school or district, those results may not be representative of your school’s or district’s student population.
For these reasons, the student reports for the Spring 2021 state assessments will look different than they have in previous years. For example, there will be no comparisons in your child’s individual student report; the report will contain only your child’s score.
In an ordinary year, state assessments provide value to educators, parents, and families as one of multiple measures to assess student learning. On the student and classroom levels, the assessments are one tool to help determine needed support for students and teachers. In the big picture, they represent one of many ways to identify achievement and opportunity gaps for our most vulnerable student populations and play an important role in getting students the supports they need to be successful in school and in life. Therefore, NYSED will return to regular testing in 2022.
Thank you for reading and, as always, thank you for supporting our schools.
Betty A. Rosa