WPCNR SCHOOL DAYS. By John F. Bailey. AUGUST 21, 2019:
May we have the results, please?
The New York State Education Department has not given a date for when New York school districts can expect the results of the second year of Questar,Inc.
Questar was chosen to prepare the assessments, given a five year contract for $44 Million, replacing Pearson (the world leader in performance test preparation), in 2015. QUESTAR has prepared the New York State Assessment Tests in 2017-2018, and 2018-19.
The effect of the late results on the White Plains School District that begins the 2019-2020 the day after Labor Day on September 3, has been that curriculum and instruction specialists in the district have been unable to view district Grades 3 to 8 performances on the second year of the supposedly new and improved user-friendly, computer submitted tests.
Why? Because the test scores administered in April and May last spring have not been released yet.
The school district has had to plan curriculum without ability to compare with results of White Plains Students on the Math and ELA tests in the second year of Questar preparation effectively.
WPCNR asked the Superintendent of Schools of White Plains, Dr. Joseph Ricca, how this has affected the district.
WPCNR asked if teachers used assessment test scores of individual students to discuss with students with poor scores, areas the students needed to improve.
Dr. Ricca said this was not possible because of the time it has taken to receive the test scores. “The students have already moved out of your (last year’s teacher) classes, they are in this year’s classes.”
I asked if teachers got actual assessment test sheet results on each student from the previous year’s results.
Dr. Ricca said “No. We take a look at overall student performance on the assessments, and emphasize areas for improvement sensitive to individual students from (White Plains) assessments we give (in our classes). Our assessments give us current sense of where our children are. The state does not send individual assessment answer sheets related to each child.”
I asked if the state assessment test results indicate most missed questions. Again, the district has no transparency. Dr. Ricca: “A picture of the district failure rate by question—that doesn’t happen.”
I asked how the assessment tests are graded?
Ricca explained, “The test computerized answer forms are send to computer centers and Questar grades them by computer based grading . The written portion of the tests are reviewed and graded by individuals.”
“Dr. Ricca concluded: “The educators in the White Plains School District continue to work hard to support every one of our students succeed. Standardized assessments are simply one measure of growth. We are very proud of our children and they continue to grow and excel.”
He said as of Monday the school district had not been notified when the state assessment results would be released.
The State Education Department told WPCNR last week: “The scores will be released later this summer, on a similar timeline to the 2017 release (August 22) Unfortunately I cannot give a more specific date. “
Asked why in 2016 test scores were released July 29, (not August 22), the Department furnished this statement: “The release of the scores was later in 2017 because the math tests were administered three weeks later than in 2016(April 13-2016, v. May 1-17, 2017).”
The State Education Department explained the Questar delay to September 23 last year on the 2017-2018 results because of a need for a performance review:
“In 2018, because of the switch from three days of testing to two, and the resulting need to conduct a new performance standard review, the statewide scores were released about a month later than usual.”
It is possible the scores could be released tomorrow August 22, or Friday August 23 and meet the 2017 date.