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December 12, 2016
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



New York State Education Department Announces Opportunities For Computer-Based Testing For Grades 3-8 ELA And Math In 2017

School districts across the state will have an expanded opportunity to voluntarily use computer-based testing (CBT) to administer grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math tests in 2017, State Education Commissioner MaryEllen Elia announced today.  This is the first time schools will have this option and follows the successful pilot of computer-based field testing last spring.

“The Department remains committed to meeting the needs of 21st century learners and supporting students, families, teachers and administrators through every step of the testing process,” Commissioner Elia said.  “We have learned from experience that we can’t rush important transitions. We have put in place a long-term process to move from paper-and-pencil testing to computer-based testing, making sure that districts have time to gather every tool they need, from infrastructure to technology, along the way.”    

In 2017, schools have the option to administer Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests on paper or computer.  To provide schools with the maximum flexibility, for this year’s operational administration schools can select computer- or paper-based testing by grade and subject area.  Additionally, at the request of school administrators, the test-administration window for the operational CBT has been extended to six days to provide extra time for districts with a limited number of devices to be able to test multiple grade levels on computer.

In 2016, schools had the option to administer stand-alone field tests on computer.  The Department encouraged schools to participate in computer-based field testing to help determine whether they had the necessary devices and infrastructure to fully participate in operational CBT.  Approximately 800 schools and 60,000 students participated in the spring 2016 computer-based stand-alone field tests.

After the field-testing window, the Department, along with test vendor Questar, held numerous regional forums to gather feedback on the CBT experience.  The forums included educators, administrators, IT coordinators, and representatives from Regional Information Centers (RICs), BOCES and Big 5 City School Districts.  At these forums, SED received largely positive feedback directly from schools and districts across the State. The Department identified areas to further improve the CBT experience for students and schools and is working with Questar to implement improvements for the 2017 CBT administration.

To ensure that educators and administrators are fully prepared to administer and score the computer-based tests, the Department will conduct a series of regional training sessions throughout the state in January 2017, and will host a series of webinar trainings. 

The Department is also making online resources available to assist districts and schools with implementing CBT, including:

  • a question sampler to preview the online testing environment,
  • online tools for schools/districts to verify their technological readiness,
  • video tutorials, and
  • technical assistance  

These resources can be viewed here.