5th and 6th grade students to take state ELA assessment on computers this year

Dear 5th and 6th Grade Families:

We would like to make you aware that your children will be taking the upcoming New York State assessment in English Language Arts (ELA) on a computer this year. This is the first time that students in our district will be taking these tests in this manner.

The intention of the State Education Department is that all students in grades 3-8 will take state assessments (ELA and mathematics) on a computer beginning next year. As such, we feel it is important for our school system to gain some experience with the computer-based testing. We believe that 5th and 6th grade are the most appropriate levels to start with, as fifth graders are the oldest students in our elementary schools and sixth graders have their own Chromebooks on which they will take the assessment.

It is important to note that the computerized test asks the same questions as the paper-and-pencil version. Students have the same amount of time to complete it. Students also have access to pencil and paper with which to make notes or draft thoughts while taking the assessment on the computer.

As you are aware, state test results do not affect local student grades. They are one piece of data that we use to assess how students are progressing toward meeting the learning standards set by New York State.

You and your child can preview the computer-based testing environment online at https://ny.nextera.questarai.com/tds/#practice. The New York State Question Sampler that can be accessed there also includes accommodation features for students with disabilities, including text-to-speech and reverse contrast.

In the coming weeks, students will be introduced to the testing platform and sample assessments by their teachers. Additionally, our district will take part in a short testing simulation in early March to ensure that we are as prepared as possible.

If you have any questions about computer-based testing or state exams, please contact the principal of your child’s school.

Sincerely,

Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools

Lauren Gemmill
Assistant Superintendent for Instruction