MAY 19, 2016 – School districts across New York State will voluntarily administer some tests this spring using digital devices as part of the New York State Education Department’s invitation to pilot computer-based testing. Many of HFM BOCES component school districts will take part in the trial, using the tests in select grade levels.
New York is taking its first official steps into statewide, computer-based testing for students in grades 3-8 in English language arts (ELA) and math. The field tests will be available on laptops, tablets, Chromebooks, PCs and Macs and administered between May 23 and June 10.
According to HFM BOCES District Superintendent Dr. Patrick Michel, SED invited all New York schools to participate in the spring trial.
“Computer-based testing has been discussed for a while, and this trial gives school administrators, teachers, students and state officials a chance to see what it looks like in the real world,” Dr. Michel said.
The SED memo said districts will have the option of offering online testing for the actual state exams in 2016-17, and both computer and paper state exams will be offered through 2020.
“Transitioning to computer-based testing is a gradual process to allow schools to ramp up their technology and work out any issues in administering these tests,” Dr. Michel said. “In the end, this could be an answer to many of the issues vexing our testing program.”
At least seven HFM BOCES districts will pilot the computer-based tests. Johnstown superintendent Robert DeLilli said his 8th grade ELA students would use CBT, while 8th graders in Wheelerville and Wells would be tested digitally in math. Broadalbin-Perth, Fonda-Fultonville, Mayfield and Lake Pleasant also said they would take part in the testing trial.
SED Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin said the move promises to improve test delivery, test integrity, scoring validity, and turn-around time while maintaining the state’s commitment to meeting the needs of 21st century learners.
Field test results do not affect student grades or factor into accountability ratings for districts, schools or teachers. Rather, the tests are given to help ensure questions used in future state exams are appropriate and fair for all students.
The web-based test delivery platform includes accommodations for students with disabilities, English learners and English learners with disabilities. Students also will have access to on-screen math tools, such as calculators, protractors and rulers, approved for their grade level. The tests will be administered in one 40-minute session.
Over the past several months, SED has been coordinating with Regional Information Centers (RICs) and BOCES statewide to provide online training and computer-based testing resources to districts.