For More Information Contact:
Tom Dunn, Jonathan Burman or Jane Briggs
(518) 474-1201


The New York State Education Department (SED) today released the 2012 grade three through eight assessment guidelines.  The tests will be administered in April, 2012. 

“The Board of Regents and SED are committed to providing teachers, parents and administrators with the most complete information possible to help students progress toward college and career readiness,” State Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr. said.  “In 2010, the Regents recalibrated the 3rd through 8th grade assessment system and committed to building a ‘right-sized’ assessment system that’s comprehensive and fair.  It’s a multi-year process.  The 2011 tests were more comprehensive than past assessments, and the 2012 tests will provide an even more complete picture of student performance.  The 2012 assessments will also incorporate field test questions to prepare for the 2013 alignment of the State’s tests with the new Common Core standards, which have been adopted by New York and more than 40 other states.

“We’ve balanced the need for better, more detailed information about student learning with our concern for minimizing student stress.  We need to measure student performance and achievement to help guide instruction. Our goal is to help every student graduate from high school college- and career-ready.  The changes this year are another step toward even more comprehensive assessments that will help teachers move students toward that goal.”

King said during the summer of 2010, Regents Chancellor Merryl H.Tisch and the Board of Regents recognized the problems with New York’s assessments and began the process of improving the system.  Since that time, SED and the Regents have taken several steps to address grade inflation, test integrity and a host of other assessment issues.  Since King became Commissioner six months ago, he has made strengthening the State’s assessment process a top priority.  King said SED and the Regents are committed to PARCC, a national consortium that is in the process of building an assessment system based on the Common Core standards.     

King noted that the 2012 assessment guidelines, which were developed with input from assessment experts and K-12 educators, will have significantly fewer questions and be much shorter than indicated in the schedule mistakenly sent out earlier this month by the Office of Assessment. The erroneous schedule, which was sent without King’s review or input from educators in the field, included more than 140 minutes of testing in one day for 3rd graders. Under the schedule released today, aside from the first day ELA assessment, which is estimated to be approximately 70 minutes long with a midway break, all other assessments will be developed with a 45 to 60 minute anticipated completion time for typical general education students.  Schools will be required to schedule 90 minutes per session to accommodate varying student needs.   King said SED has spread both the ELA and math assessments over three days to help students adjust to the added length of this year’s exams.

The new schedule brings the State closer to the schedules issued by the highly regarded Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System and the New England Common Assessment Program (members include New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and Maine) and other states across the nation that ask schools to schedule longer blocks than the expected testing time, so that students who may need additional time can demonstrate their knowledge and skills.

The guideline memo can be found at


About cnyteacher

News and notes on education, labor, politics and the arts from CNY teacher Greg McCrea.
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