We’re Ready for i-Ready and NYS Exams!

It may be surprising to believe that it’s already time to discuss New York State ELA and Math exams for this school year.  During the last few years, the state has made several changes to these exams to try to create the most accurate measure of student success.  These changes include involving teachers in the creation and selection of test items, reducing the number of items on the test, and making the test untimed.  Even though the exam continues to be revised from year-to-year, schools, including GCCS, are still accountable for overall student performance.

i-Ready to assess academic performance

In addition to NYS testing measures, GCCS uses i-Ready to assess academic performance.  i-Ready is a very timely and targeted benchmarking program that supports teachers’ classroom assessments in determining students’ academic achievement.  In the fall, teachers compared NYS results to i-Ready results and found that there was strong alignment between these two measures.  This is encouraging to know that i-Ready can provide the school with up-to-date information about student growth that supports information the school receives about NYS performance after the school year is over.

In order for GCCS to have a wholistic picture of each child, all assessment measures are considered. GCCS uses these testing opportunities to deconstruct questions with students and have them practice how to take the exams, but we try hard not to create a stressful, high-pressure test culture, nor do we spend significant time on testing preparation.

Opting students out of exams

Please note that if families decide to opt students out of exams, the school needs a written letter at least 24 hours in advance.  The school also needs to know which specific exams students will be opting out of so that the school can plan accordingly.  Students who opt out of the tests will be given appropriate classwork to do in lieu of the exams.  The New York State English Language Arts Exam will be administered at GCCS on Wednesday, April 3rd and Thursday, April 4th, 2019 for grades 3 – 6.  The New York State Mathematics Exam will be administered at GCCS on Thursday, May 2nd and Friday, May 3rd for grades 3 – 6.

GCCS does everything in its power to not make standardized testing high stakes for students, but they will continue to be high-stakes for charter schools whose very existence depends upon positive results.  We will continue to keep parents informed of testing changes in the future.