Tag Archives: NYS Math Test

Understanding Your Child’s State Test Scores

Understanding your Child’s State Test Scores

By Mary E. Miele M.A.Ed, Special Education Teacher

What tests did your child take?

Each spring, students in grades 3-8 take part in the New York State Testing Program as required under the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). The English Language Arts and Mathematics examinations given are based on the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS) adopted by New York State in July 2010. However, it wasn’t until the 2012-2013 school year that the assessments in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics were used to measure a student’s progress towards mastering the Common Core Learning Standards. Students take the ELA and math assessments annually through grade 8. Science and Social Studies assessments are administered in grades 4 and 8 but are not Common Core aligned.

What skills are tested?

The ELA Common Core examination tests your child’s ability to comprehend key ideas and details presented in grade level texts. Their reading comprehension score is based on their responses to multiple choice questions that measure the common core learning standards. The mathematics common core examination tests your child’s ability to solve equations using the four operations (addition, subtraction, multiplication and division), base ten, fractions, the number system, ratios and proportions, measurement and data, functions and geometry; which are determined by their grade level.

Your Score Report Decoded

You can locate your child’s score on your NYC Schools Account: https://www.mystudent.nyc/. You need to have your child’s ID number (found on his or her report card) as well as an Account Creation Code (provided by your child’s school) to register.

For both the ELA and Math examinations, there are four major scores reported.

Scale Score: The scale score is determined by the number of points your child earns on the test. The higher the number of points your child earned, the higher his or her scale score. There may be no scale score listed if, (1) your child did not complete a sufficient number of questions on the test to generate a score, (2) if your child was medically excused, or (3) if there was an administrative error.

Quick Tip: You should NOT compare your child’s scale score this year to the scale score from previous exam years. The range of scale scores change by grade level and should not be compared as they may falsely indicate a better/worse performance than what actually occurred.

Performance Level 2016-2017: Students are assigned a performance level based on how they perform on the test this year. There are four possible performance levels:

NYS Level 1: Students performing at this level are well below proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are insufficient to meet grade expectations and Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 2: Students performing at this level are somewhat proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are on track to meet current New York high school graduation requirements but are insufficient to meet Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 3: Students performing at this level are proficient in meeting grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are sufficient to meet Common Core Learning Standards.

NYS Level 4: Students performing at this level are currently excelling in meeting the grade level standards. The skills they demonstrate are more than sufficient to meet grade level and Common Core Learning Standards.

Overall State Percentile Rank: The percentile rank compares your child’s scale score to the scores of other NY state students who took the same test this year. The rank is reported on a scale of 1-99. The higher your child’s percentage rank, the better your child did compared to other students. For example, if your child’s percentage rank is 50%, it means that your child did better than 50% of all students in their grade who took the test.

Performance Level 2015-2016: The second performance level listed indicates your child’s performance in the previous year’s examination. The 2015-2016 performance level can be compared to the 2016-2017 performance level (this year’s level) to determine if your child has improved. If your child’s performance level is lower this year than last year, it can indicate that there may be some interventions that are needed to ensure that your child continues to progress. These interventions can include providing test preparation, tutoring, and/or test accommodations offered through a 504 plan or Individualized Education Plan (IEP).

Quick Tip: Students taking the 3rd grade test will not have a previous year performance level as this is the first year of administration. Use this year’s performance level as a baseline to compare to in future years.

Next Steps

Understanding your child’s results is just the first part. While the results may or may not have been what you expected, your understanding of the results can help you support your child during the school year and help them prepare for their next assessment.

If your child’s performance was a Level 1 or Level 2:

  • Speak to your child’s teacher to get an understanding of what standards they struggle with the most. Ask for suggestions on how you can support learning at home.
  • If you went through tutoring support, review that support with your child’s tutor and create a list of what improvements could be made for next year’s process.
  • Advocate for your child to receive additional support as needed. Students whose performance level is either Level 1 or Level 2 are eligible for academic intervention services (AIS) from their schools.
  • Speak to your child about their testing experience. Ask about any fears, anxieties or difficulties they faced during testing. Your child’s feedback may help you determine what type of support they need during this time.
  • Find ways to help your child practice skills outside of school. For example, household activities like cooking, baking and shopping can help your child practice skills that will help them during testing. These activities can help students develop skills such as following multi-step directions and calculating measurements that are assessed during testing.
  • Encourage independent reading at home. All children can benefit from additional independent reading time, not just struggling students. However, some students are more hesitant to pick up a book and read without encouragement. Find a book series or genre that your child particularly enjoys and don’t worry about how “educational” it is. Even magazines, newspapers and comic books can be good material to encourage reading.
  • Consider having your child evaluated for special education services for additional support that they may need. Many students struggle silently with learning disabilities that are unsupported and are not allowing them to demonstrate all that they know and can do. Students who qualify for special education services are entitled to receive support throughout the school year and testing accommodations during assessments. Testing accommodations that may be considered include breaks during testing, administration in a distraction free location and questions read aloud. These supports can make all the difference for some students. In addition, even if they receive these supports, there are no future implications on their post-secondary school and career options.

If your child’s performance was a Level 3 or Level 4:

  • Continue to encourage your child’s progress and do not look at the results as a reason to lower expectations for their performance. Some children (and parents) develop a false confidence that can cause them to slack on school and homework. Learning is a continual process that should be guided by your child’s curiosity and your encouragement.
  • Challenge your child’s critical thinking skills. Regardless of what grade level tests they take, all assessments test your child’s ability to think critically and analyze information presented. Help your child develop critical thinking skills by asking open ended questions, encouraging them to make decisions independently, and having them make connections between what they learn and what they experience in life.
  • Help your child develop their group work skills, their social skills and reinforce academic skills by having them act as a peer tutor. School is a very important aspect to a child’s social life and development. Giving students the opportunity to interact with their peers in an academic setting is preferred by many. Many advanced students thrive in this leadership opportunity. In addition, some struggling students benefit from learning directly from their peers.
  • Speak to your child’s school about possible early promotion. Can they be switched to a higher level math class based on a strong performance? While you don’t want to push them if they are not ready, you also want to ensure that they are appropriately challenged for their ability levels. Nothing is worse than a student who loses motivation due to being “bored” and unchallenged in the classroom. Inquire about enrichment programs that may be a good fit for your child.

Note about how to discuss your child’s results: 

The way you handle your child’s test results is a very personal choice and decision. I’m simply making some suggestions here from my experience in working with families and students to help navigate your own process.

What should I share with my child? 

I advise being factual about test results with children. Tell them the scores matter of factly and work with them on a plan for what they will do to meet expectations this coming year. Provide suggestions on how to talk about their test scores with peers — or better yet advise them to keep testing information private. Even if scores are at expectation, it is important to review the preparation and make a list of what worked and what did not work.

What should our “talk” look like? 

Give factual information. If you are feeling elated, excited, upset, frustrated, disappointed, or angry — cope with your feelings first. Talk with your child when you are calm. Ask your child a series of precise questions about the results and the preparation process such as: What do you think of these results? Do you have any questions? How do you feel your preparation went this year? Did you have enough time for instruction, enough independent practice, enough mock assessments? Did you have a successful mindset, discipline and/or attitude about the testing? What skills and concepts are solid and what may need improvement?

Write out the answers and use them to create a “goal sheet” for this coming year.

In addition to interpreting results and talking with your child about the goals, give your child a way to talk about testing with friends and teachers. I think if all parents talked with their children about the fact that results are private information — we would be all better off. But, since the questions and conversations do tend to happen — you may want to suggest your child know what to say if friends start to ask. If a friend asks, “What did you get on the ELA?” The student may be able to just say, “I did great – how did you do?” and give them ways to handle the peers who may really want to know a number, “You know, I don’t really want to publicize my numbers — that’s really private info, you know!” is a great line to use, for instance. Preparedness will help students to feel better about their social interactions.

What if my child did not meet expectations? 

First of all, remember that these are test scores, and while they are one important aspect of your child’s academic experience, they are also a snapshot of that one experience. Any number of variables may contribute to a child’s success during test taking. At Evolved, we view children as whole people — academics, learning, school and home experiences as well as their social, emotional and physical development come into play at any time during their testing.

If you are feeling disappointed in the results, it may be best to talk with me or with your spouse or another parent before you speak to your child. You want your mindset to be one of constructive criticism instead of destructive criticism. The point is — be frustrated, be disappointed, and then get to work on supporting your child. And remember — this is your child’s journey. It may not go the way you have planned, but it will work out and we can partner together to support you and your child along the way!

What if I don’t want to talk with my child right now? 

I would say that if your child is in 3rd or 4th or maybe even 5th grade that is okay, but if their friends will be talking about it, it is best for you to talk with your child about the results first. You will want your child to be able to ask you questions and not their friends. Most children have been involved in the preparation for the ELA and NYS Math Tests, so they are aware that results will come out. While they may not be aware of this happening this week, once they get back to school, they may have conversations with their friends about the tests.

Other questions? Contact me — I am happy to help!

If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact me at mary@evolveded.com or at 917 388 3862.


Test Preparation and Supporting School: Especially for Middle School Families

EEC’s Presentation for Middle School Families

By Mary Miele, Founder and Learning Specialist

At our presentation for parents of students in Middle School with NYC Admissions Solutions and Maurice Frumkin, information on three aspects of supporting school was given. First, parents can support their children through test preparation. Second, parents can learn productive ways to ensure their children thrive in their role as student during a crucial academic time. And lastly, parents can learn the timeline for next steps as students enter high school.

I. Three steps to support your child through test preparation.

  1. Learn about your child’s testing opportunities and the tests.

ISEE is the Independent School Entrance Examination. A student can take this exam only once during the admission cycle. The verbal reasoning section of the ISEE contains synonyms and sentence completion questions. The quantitative reasoning section of the ISEE contains quantitative comparisons.

Sub Test # of ?s Time
Verbal Reasoning 40 20
Quantitative Reasoning 37 35 min
Reading Comprehension 36 35 min
Mathematics Achievement 47 40 min
Essay one prompt 30 min
Total Time 2hrs 40min

SSAT is the Secondary School Admissions Test. A student can take this exam as many times as he or she prefers to during the admission cycle. The verbal reasoning section of the SSAT contains analogies.

Sub Test # of ?s Regular Time 1.5 Time
Verbal Reasoning 60 30 45
Quantitative Reasoning 50 60 90
Reading Comprehension 40 40 min 60
Experimental 16 15 min not provided
Essay one prompt 25 min 40 min
Total Time with break 3 hours, 5 min 4 hrs, 10 min

SHSAT is the Specialized High School Admissions Test. A student can take this test only once during the admissions cycle—typically in late October. SHSAT Class begins Saturday, April 2nd! Sign up by emailing info@evolveded.com.

Sub Test # of ?s Total Points Total Time
Scrambled Paragraphs 5 10
Logical Reasoning 10 10
Reading 30 30
Math 50 50
2 hrs 30 min

ELA is the English Language Arts Test.

Day One tests only reading. This part of the test will entail multiple-choice questions on a set # of literary and informational reading passages, which will vary in length depending on grade level.

Day Two is split equally between testing writing and testing reading. This part of the test will entail multiple-choice questions based on a passage and one extended response and 3 short-responses based on two passages.

Day Three tests writing. This part of the test will entail an extended response and short response questions on reading passages.

This test is untimed, but students should finish with enough stamina to perform well. Partial credit is given on short and extended responses. It is important that your child know the rubrics for grading.

For Grade Six and Seven ELA: Click here for 2016 Information on the ELA Test. See below for the rubrics for the short and extended responses.

ELA Grade Six Short Response Rubric

ELA Extended Response Rubric

NYS Math Test is the New York State Math Test.

Day One has multiple-choice questions.

Day Two has multiple-choice questions

Day Three has short-response questions and extended-response questions.

This test is untimed, but students should finish with enough stamina to perform well. Partial credit is given on short and extended responses.  It is important that your child know the rubrics for grading.

For Grade Six and Seven NYS Math Test: Click here for 2016 Information on the NYS Math Test. See below for the rubrics for the short and extended responses.

NYS Math Test Short Response Rubric

NYS Math Test Extended Response Rubric

CTP-4 is the Comprehensive Testing Program. It is a rigorous assessment for high achieving students in various content areas. Many private, independent and parochial schools use the CTP-4.

Verbal Reasoning

Quantitative Reasoning

Math Achievement

Reading Comprehension

Writing Concepts & Skills

Writing Mechanics

Listening Skills

2. Learn about what creates successful test preparation, generally speaking.

Strong Plan that accounts for a child using whole child paradigm.

Commitment and Consistency

Tutoring or classes that not only instruct, but also provides opportunities for plenty of practice (homework), practice tests, as well as opportunities to be in the driver’s seat with regard to mastery of skills, concepts and strategies.

Attention to the Social-Emotional-Academic Quotient.

3.  Create a test preparation plan.

Your child’s …

Academic History

Learning Style

School Environment

Family Environment, Values, Goals

Social-Emotional Connection or SEAQ (Social-Emotional-Academic Quotient)

Your budget …

Your calendar …

Schedule a Test Preparation Consultation with EEC and take the guesswork out of the planning work! Email us today at info@evolveded.com or call 917-388-3862.

II. Four Ways Parents can Support School so Students Thrive.

1. Be Informed — Remember the Whole Child Paradigm?

Keep track of your child’s academic history. Learn about your child’s learning style. Understand your child’s school environment—both what works for your child and what does not. Be aware of your family’s environment, values and goals. Determine your child’s social-emotional-academic quotient.

2. Teach and Require Skills for the Job — Classwork, Homework, Studying, Executive Functioning

Know what skills your child needs to have to thrive within classwork, homework, studying and executive functioning.

In the classroom, the student needs to understand the way information is being communicated. What is the syllabus? What is the teaching style? How should the student participate?

For homework, the student needs to have a system for knowing what needs to be completed, for taking the classroom experience and applying it to homework, calendaring tasks into a planner, and having a system for handing in assignments.

For studying, the student needs to have a system for on-going studying, an effective way to acquire information and skills (often avoiding phone or Internet time or social media) which should involve active studying, a way to use weekend time for review.

For executive functioning, the student should be aware of his or her strengths in the eight main functions: Planning, Organization, Self-Monitoring, Working Memory, Initiation, Emotional Control, Shift, Inhibition/Impulsivity and employ strategies to compensate for areas of weakness.

Schedule an Education Consulting Session with EEC to help you and your child to perfect these important skills using our whole child paradigm. Email us at info@evolveded.com or call 917-388-3862.

3. Communicate & Problem-Solve

Students and families need a way to communicate on a weekly basis. The communication should include a review of school feedback, a look ahead at upcoming tests/projects, a review of the family calendar, and include contracts, goals with specific attention to actions and consequences.

4. Outsource

Families should outsource support by first going to classroom teachers, guidance counselors, or principals at the school. Parents should stay informed about curriculum, how their child is performing in school and the landscape of education going forward. Parents should find education consulting, classes and tutoring which supports the student so he or she can THRIVE in his or her role as a student.

III. Looking Ahead to High School

Parents can learn about the high school timeline to ensure their child is afforded every opportunity to THRIVE within the high school experience and college search and admissions process.

Email our college counselor, Molly Lieberman with specific questions about the high school process at college@evolveded.com!

Freshman year

Take rigorous courses that ensure best grades possible (do all four years).

Take part in extra-curricular activities of interest (do all four years).

Sign up for a College Board account, apply for extra time for standardized tests, if needed.

Sophomore year

Take PSAT in fall for a baseline grade.

Take an SAT II test in the spring.

Visit some colleges in spring or summer of Sophomore year.

Explore career interests & get a job or internship.

Junior year

Take PSAT in fall.

Prepare for ACT & SAT.

Continue to visit colleges.

Take SAT II Tests.

Create Common Application account in summer—take SENIOR SUMMER with EEC!

Senior year

Finalize a well-balanced 5-8 school list.

Take SAT & ACT.

Work closely with your school’s college counselor.

Submit applications & Finish School Strong!

EEC ‘s Spring Consulting Services and Classes

SHSAT Class begins Saturday, April 2nd! Sign up by emailing info@evolveded.com

Consulting for Test Preparation Planning, Student Plans, or Summer Education Opportunities available. Sign up by emailing info@evolveded.com