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A message from Superintendent Kaweeda G. Adams

March 12, 2019

(updated April 23, 2019)


Reminders for families as annual state exams approach

Every spring, all school districts in New York administer the state’s English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics exams to students in grades 3-8. The federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that school districts administer these tests. 

  • The 2019 state ELA exam was administered Tuesday, April 2 and Wednesday, April 3.

  • The 2019 state math exam will be administered Wednesday, May 1 and Thursday, May 2.

The tests are designed to measure how well students are mastering the learning standards that guide classroom instruction. They help ensure that students are on track to graduate from high school with the critical-thinking, problem-solving and reasoning skills needed for success in college and the modern workplace. The tests also show how schools and districts are progressing with the learning standards.


Here is some additional information about the 2019 state tests:

  • Both tests were reduced from three days to two days this year.

  • Both tests are untimed once again, meaning students will have as long as they need to finish.

  • Like last year, the New York State Education Department plans to have instructional reports returned to teachers by the end of the school year, and to release at least 75 percent of the test questions.

  • As in 2018, the 2019 Score Reports for parents and guardians will feature more information about what students should know and be able to do at each grade level.

  • For parents and guardians who chose to have their child “opt out,” an alternate location will be prepared for the entirety of the test period. Children will be brought to a supervised alternate location for each test session where they will be able to read silently with books of their choice, either from home or from the classroom or school library. At the end of each test session, the child will return to the classroom and resume standard school day instructional activities.

  • As aligned with the new ESSA requirements, each school once again will need to have a 95 percent participation rate. Participation in the state assessment impacts the school’s growth score.

These assessments objectively inform parents, guardians and teachers about students’ progress compared to other students across the state. Annual assessments are also used to help ensure that traditionally underserved students – students of color, students receiving Special Education or English as a New Language (ENL) services, or students from low-income communities – are not overlooked.


Finally, school leaders and leadership teams use the assessment data to make academic and budgetary decisions in order to further improve the delivery of quality instruction and the allocation of resources directly impacting student achievement and success.


Whether your children’s future holds college, the workplace, military or another endeavor, students will need to be able to think critically and solve complex problems.  With these tools, students have more choices about their futures and can make the most of their opportunities. Providing students those tools is our goal throughout the City School District of Albany, and the annual state tests are one way we measure our success. However, these statewide assessments also provide objective information about how students are progressing toward the higher-level skills and knowledge required to be successful after high school.


Thank you for your time and attention regarding the state assessments. Please review the supporting documents from NYSED to facilitate a deeper understanding of our annual state assessments for students in grades 3-8.


Yours in education,

Kaweeda G. Adams

Superintendent of Schools

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