A lot of discussion has been taking place concerning the new State assessments based on the Common Core that will be administered this year to students in grades 3-8. Below are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions.
1. Why do we need State assessments?
Assessments do not measure the intelligence of our children. Assessments are an important tool for improving student achievement. The new tests will help principals and teachers identify those students who might need extra support to successfully move on in their education and be college- and career- ready by graduation. These assessments provide a “snapshot” of where a child is now in his or her learning. Learning is about growth and should be seen as a journey. The New York State Assessments are a check point along the way.
2. Will these tests be harder?
At first, the tests may seem more difficult. This is normal. The new tests will be based on the “shifts”in the Common Core State Standards.
3. Will student test scores drop?
According to the New York State Education Department, the number of students that score at or above grade level based on the Common Core will likely decrease. This should not necessarily be interpreted as a decline in student learning, nor in teacher performance. However, these assessments will provide a more realistic picture of where students are on their path to being well prepared for the world that awaits them after they graduate from high school. These assessments are a new beginning, and will be a baseline from which students will grow and progress.
4. What if my child fails, will they be retained? Will they get additional help?
The New York State Assessments are not tests that a student either passes or fails. The assessments are not used for grade promotion nor for grading purposes. However, the assessments provide valuable information about our students and also are used to identify which students are eligible to receive additional interventions.
5. If a parent has questions, who should they ask?
Parents can get additional information from their child’s teacher, principal or District Central Office.