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Warwick Valley Central School District

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New York State Assessments: Do they really matter?


March 7, 2012 - Standardized tests, such as the upcoming NYS Assessments,
are an important tool for measurement in education – and yes, they do matter!

Results from these tests provide actionable data that help parents, teachers,
and students improve academic performance. The NYS testing program also uses
the assessments to determine each school’s Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as
required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), and can help determine
effectiveness of school programs for such honors as the National Blue Ribbon School
program which Sanfordville Elementary School is currently in the running for.

text box with quote from educatorRaising the Bar in Public Education

The New York State Board of Regents has set high learning standards for all
New York students. Just last year, standards were raised in order for students to be able to achieve their highest level of success in education. Teachers are providing instruction aligned to these standards and routinely assessing student progress toward meeting these standards.

The New York State Assessments provide schools, teachers and parents with a measurement of student achievement, providing the student, teacher and parent with an objective report of individual student strengths and weaknesses in a variety of skill areas. The results give teachers, schools and school districts information they can use to improve teaching and provide additional assistance to students who need it. These tests are given each year at the same time and are designed to challenge grades 3 through 8 students to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in English language arts and mathematics.

Not only do the tests measure how well students master necessary skills, but they also monitor the effectiveness of instructional programs. While not the only measure of a student’s knowledge and abilities, it is a vital part of the educational process. The testing helps assess both student achievement and the progress of our schools.


The purpose of the New York State Assessments is to:
• Measure a student’s knowledge and overall achievement
• Measure a student’s mastery of specific skills
• Provide information to schools that can be used to evaluate the effectiveness
of instructional programs
• Monitor the performance of schools and school districts for the purpose of
accountability to the public. These tests reflect the high standards set for
elementary and middle grades and help ensure that students are prepared for high school.

text box with quote from educator

Of course, how well a child does on one of these
 exams depends not only on the instruction he or
she receives in the classroom, but also on lessons
learned at home. When you teach your child to
follow or double a recipe, locate a place on a map,
explain a newspaper article or predict the outcome
of a story, you are teaching your child to analyze
the meaning of what he or she has heard, read
or viewed. When you ask your child to explain
information – whether from a cartoon, graph, or news report – you are helping him
or her develop skills needed for success in school and on assessments. Your involvement
can lead to deeper understanding of lessons, higher test scores and a better likelihood
that your child will continue on to higher education.

How Parents Can Help

Parents play an important role in helping their children to do well in school and in
preparing for these tests. Here are some things you can do:

1) Keep the lines of communication open with your child’s teacher.
Stay informed about your child’s progress in school. Attend parent-
teacher conferences.

2) Be supportive throughout the school year. Make sure your child
goes to school ready to learn, attends regularly, and completes homework.
Be generous with praise for good work.

3) Encourage good work habits. Explain the importance of following
directions and avoiding careless errors. Check your child’s school and homework.

4) Have a positive attitude toward the state assessments. Let your child know
you have confidence in his or her abilities. Explain that some of the test questions
may be difficult and that it doesn’t matter if other students finish sooner.
Let your child know it is okay to proceed at his or her own pace.

5) Be sure your child is physically prepared on the day of the test – that he or she
has had a good night’s sleep and a good breakfast and nutritious lunch.
Be sure they get to school on time and have an adequate supply of pens, pencils
and highlighters. Do not schedule any appointments for your child on the days
of the assessments.


More Information:

For more about the Grades 3–8 Testing Program, please visit the following web sites:

Latest News on Grades 3-8 Testing
New York State Education Department Parent Resources
Office of State Assessment
Office of Curriculum and Instructional Support
Information on the Use of Calculators