FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Education Department Releases 75 Percent of Questions from 2017 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests
For the Second Year in Row, Educators and Parents Will Have Access to More Questions Than in Previous Years
Grades 3-8 Instructional Reports Will be Available by June 12
The State Education Department today announced that 75 percent of questions from the 2017 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests that count toward student scores in these tests are now posted online at EngageNY.org. This is the second year in a row that more questions have been released than in previous years. By June 12, several instructional reports based on the 2017 tests will be made available to districts and schools. Educators and parents will once again be able to review their students’ answers to constructed-response questions this year, giving them an even clearer picture of how well students are doing.
“Assessments that are diagnostic, valid and reliable are one performance indicator that can provide timely and practical information for teachers, parents, administrators and students,” Board of Regents Chancellor Betty A. Rosa said. “Releasing more test questions before the school year ends help educators use the assessments as learning tools to improve classroom instruction. Our draft Every Student Succeeds Act Plan would expand indicators of school quality and student success over time to help inform educators and parents in these areas.”
“In my travels across the state, I’ve heard from educators and parents alike that they want to know as soon as possible how students perform on the assessments so they can plan for next year,” State Educator Commissioner MaryEllen Elia said. “This is the second year we’ve released more test questions earlier so educators have them before the end of the school year. While assessments continue under our draft ESSA plan, they would be just one of several measures that provide insight into school quality and student success.”
Released Test Questions
The State Education Department released 75 percent of the 2017 Grades 3-8 ELA and math test questions that counted toward student scores on the tests. Each released multiple-choice question includes the question itself and an item map that provides the answer key and the standard(s) measured by the question. Each released constructed-response (open-ended) question includes the question itself and an item map that provides the standard(s) measured by the question.
The State Education Department has once again released 100 percent of the constructed-response questions from the Grade 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Tests, as well as the scoring materials used by educators to score student responses to these questions. The questions are posted on EngageNY.org.
This year, the State Education Department authorized the release of instructional reports for the 2017 Grades 3-8 ELA and math by June 12. The release of these reports during the same school year in which the tests were administered allows schools and districts more time to use this information for summer curriculum writing and professional development activities. Schools may access their district’s instructional reports through the Regional Information Centers (RIC) and/or Big 5 city school district data centers.
The instructional reports show educators how each student performed on every question that contributed to his or her score. As with those from past years, the 2017 instructional reports for ELA and math are based on raw scores only, which are not comparable year over year. Scale scores and performance levels will be available when the statewide results are released later this summer.
Once again, educators and parents this year will have the opportunity to review student answers to the constructed-response questions from the 2017 tests, giving them additional information about student performance. The State Education Department has provided guidance for districts on how to implement this review so student privacy is protected and the integrity of the students’ responses is preserved. However, districts will use local discretion to develop their own procedures for reviewing and releasing the data. To view the released questions, visit: EngageNY.org.
 The New York City Department of Education and the Yonkers City school district serve as their own Level 1 data center and will have different reporting solutions and time lines.
 Because each year’s test includes different questions, it is likely that the questions are, on average, slightly easier or slightly more difficult than was the prior year’s test. To ensure that test scores are comparable given these slight year-to-year differences, a standard statistical process called equating is employed. Equating adjusts slightly the number of raw score points (i.e., questions answered correctly) needed to achieve a certain scale score and performance standard, relative to the small difference in difficulty of the current year's test. For example, if the current year’s test is slightly easier than was the prior year test, the number of raw score points necessary to achieve a given performance standard will increase slightly. If the current year’s test is slightly harder than was the prior year test, the number of raw score points necessary to achieve a given performance standard will decrease slightly.
Reporters and education writers may contact the Office of Communications by email or phone at: