K-12: Overview of standards and assessments

Purpose/overview

The purpose of this page is to:

  • Inform families of philosophical purpose of assessment in the district
  • Inform families on what logistical purpose assessment serves in each building. (what do we do vs. what we do not do)
  • Inform families of types of assessments used in each building in the district
  • Provide brief examples of each assessment

Assessment: Philosophical Purpose

An assessment is a form of measurement that allows us to:

  • gauge the effectiveness of our instruction, programs and resources.
  • make informed decisions about necessary changes to instruction, programs and resources.
  • have a “checkpoint” for student progress.
  • dialogue with teachers, administrators and community members about the impact of “best practices.”

Assessment: Logistical Purpose

Examples of a formative assessment are homework, projects quizzes, concerts, art shows. A formative assessment allows us to:

  • monitor instruction (timing, pacing)
  • make sure that we are working towards achieving learning standards.
  • provide guidance/feedback to students on progress.

What are assessments NOT used for?

Test information is NOT used for:

  • Teacher evaluation or scoring
  • Student placement in grades 3-7

A placement test is used for eighth grade honors courses. There are various metrics used for students in the high school for placement in honors, Advanced Placement or SUNY Orange courses, including Regents exam scores. Individual appeals are always considered.

Have any changes been made to assessments in recent years?

In response to statewide concern over assessment practices, particularly at the 3-8 level, the state has responded by making the following changes:

  • No teacher accountability until teachers are properly trained on new standards and assessments. (currently 2019-20 school year)
  • Shortened test questions
  • Unlimited productive testing time.
  • Change in testing provider (Questar)

Types of assessments

There are many types of assessments, including:

  • Local, teacher derived assessments, such as classroom quizzes and tests, projects, art shows, concerts, and presentations
  • Common benchmark assessments – local building-derived assessment measures
  • Local placement tests and rubrics
  • State tests- 3-8 Math, ELA, Science tests and Regents exams
  • Advanced Placement tests
  • SAT/ACT
  • SUNY Orange assessments

Examples of assessment questions

Grade 3 Math: Recursive Benchmarks

Hilda and Mallory each have the same number of seashells. Hilda sorted her seashells into 3 groups with 8 seashells in each group. Mallory sorted her seashells into 6 equal groups.

How many seashells were in each of the groups Mallory made?

  1. 4
  2. 9
  3. 18
  4. 24

Grade 3 ELA: Recursive Benchmarks

Reptile or Amphibian? What is the difference between the two groups?

What Is a Reptile?
  1. A reptile is an animal that has hard, dry skin. Turtles are the only reptiles that have shells.
  2. Most reptiles have clawed feet and walk on four legs. Can you name a reptile that has no legs? A snake! Other reptiles include alligators, crocodiles, and lizards.
  3. Most reptiles lay eggs on land. Baby reptiles hatch from the eggs. A leaf-tailed gecko lays two eggs at a time. The corn snake lays up to 30 eggs at once! The boa constrictor is a snake that does not lay eggs. It gives birth to baby snakes.
What Is an Amphibian?
  1. An amphibian is an animal that spends part of its life in water and part on land. Most have smooth, wet skin. Frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders are amphibians.
  2. Most amphibians hatch from eggs. The eggs are usually in or near water. Young amphibians breathe through gills. When they get older, they breathe with lungs. Most adult amphibians live on land. For example, young frogs that hatch from eggs are called tadpoles. Tadpoles live in water and move like fish. After they grow legs, they can hop on land.
 Which of the following statements is not true?
  1. both reptiles and amphibians hatch from eggs
  2. both reptiles and amphibians live only on land
  3. frogs, toads, newts, and salamanders are amphibians
  4. alligators, snakes, geckos, and crocodiles are reptiles

Grade 5 Math: Recursive Benchmarks

A number is given: 136.25

In a different number, the 6 represents a value which is one-tenth of the value of the 6 in the number above. What value is represented by the 6 in the other number?

  1. six hundredths
  2. six tenths
  3. six ones
  4. six tens

Grade 7 Math: State Assessment

Yesterday, the temperature at noon was 11.4°F. By midnight, the temperature had decreased by 15.7 degrees. What was the temperature at midnight?

  1. −4 .3 °F
  2. −11 .4 °F
  3. −15 .7 °F
  4. −27. 1 °F

Grade 6 ELA: State Assessment

Pigeon Patrol by Karin Lynn Kandur

Did you know that the pigeons you see at the park and on the sidewalks can be trained as rescue heroes? While we may only see them coo and peck at the ground in search of food, they were once an important part of search and rescue missions.

Jim Simmons is a scientist who recognized the power of pigeons. In 1976, he started Project Sea Hunt, a program that trained pigeons to spot people lost at sea. The project was sponsored by the United States Coast Guard.

Jim’s experience with animals qualified him to run this program. He once trained bottlenose dolphins, pilot whales, and gooney birds. He also studied their behaviors and abilities to learn. He used food to reward them when they performed a task correctly. It’s like training a dog to sit by rewarding him with a biscuit.

What would you do for your favorite snack? Jim taught the pigeons that every time they saw the colors red, orange, or yellow and pecked at a special button, they would be rewarded with a seed. Why those colors? They are the colors of life jackets, life rafts, and distress signals, such as flares and flashing lights. These objects are often used by people to get help when they are stranded in the ocean.

“The Sea Hunt pigeons were selected first for good health and secondly on the speed and reliability that each bird learned the behavior that was being trained,” Jim explained. While a large number of birds were originally selected for the program, approximately 12 to 14 of them completed the training and were able to perform actual searches, Jim says. Training usually lasted 10 months.

Why did Jim choose pigeons for rescue missions? A pigeon’s sharp eyesight and ability to search long hours without getting tired made it the perfect worker. Before using pigeons, search and rescue teams consisted of humans scanning the ocean from boats and helicopters. When going nose to beak against a human during training, the pigeons spotted objects faster and more often. What’s even better, the pigeons could see objects from as far away as 2000 feet. That’s the distance of almost seven football fields. Plus, the pigeons didn’t have to concentrate on flying the helicopter while they searched.

To put their skills to the test, the pigeons were used in several official search and rescue missions. Three pigeons were strapped into a clear capsule attached to a helicopter. Two pigeons faced forward and one faced backward. This allowed them to see in a complete circle. The pigeons pecked at an alert button in front of them when they spotted something red, yellow, or orange in the water below. Meanwhile, the pilot was notified in the cockpit by a flashing light and could begin a closer search.

While the birds did not find missing people in any of their official rescue missions, they did find small objects in the water that matched the colors the birds were trained to identify. The missions took place off the coasts of Hawaii and California.

Project Sea Hunt ended in 1982. “The effort helped draw attention to the difficulties of searching for small objects in a big ocean,” Jim said. Since then, technology, such as infrared and radar sensor systems and emergency transmitters, has been developed to make search and rescue missions even more successful.

With their search and rescue days behind them, pigeons prefer living in parks or on top of tall buildings. The next time you think about calling someone a birdbrain, think again. That birdbrain may be able to save your life.

The author demonstrates that Jim Simmons is qualified for Project Sea Hunt by:

  1. describing his previous work with animals
  2. giving examples of his training techniques
  3. explaining his choice of birds for the program
  4. establishing his relationship with the government

The author uses the phrase “nose to beak” in line 24 to show that pigeons are

  1. replacing people on rescue missions
  2. using their senses to find people
  3. working alongside people
  4. being compared to people

Algebra 1 Regents – State Assessment

1. Which ordered pair is not in the solution set of 1 2 y x >− + 5 and y x ≤ − 3 2 ?

  1. (5,3)
  2. (4,3)
  3. (3,4)
  4. (4,4)

2. David has two jobs. He earns $8 per hour babysitting his neighbor’s children and he earns $11 per hour working at the coffee shop.

Write an inequality to represent the number of hours, x, babysitting and the number of hours, y, working at the coffee shop that David will need to work to earn a minimum of $200.

David worked 15 hours at the coffee shop. Use the inequality to find the number of full hours he must babysit to reach his goal of $200.

ELA Regents – State Assessment

Weary with toil, I haste me to my bed,

The dear repose for limbs with travel tir’d;

But then begins a journey in my head To work my mind,

when body’s work’s expired:

For then my thoughts—from far where I abide—

Intend a zealous pilgrimage to thee,

And keep my drooping eyelids open wide,

Looking on darkness which the blind do see:

Save that my soul’s imaginary sight

Presents thy shadow to my sightless view,

Which, like a jewel hung in ghastly night,

Makes black night beauteous, and her old face new.

Lo! thus, by day my limbs, by night my mind,

For thee, and for myself, no quiet find.

—William Shakespeare, 1609 Quarto version

1. The narrator’s use of the phrase “zealous pilgrimage”(line 6) emphasizes

  1. an emotional attachment
  2. a fatiguing journey
  3. a religious conversion
  4. an unpleasant memory

2. As used in line 10, “shadow” most likely refers to the narrator’s

  1. soul
  2. surroundings
  3. reflection
  4. friend

Final thoughts from the district

As a district, we believe:

  • We must offer students the ability to demonstrate their strengths and weaknesses using multiple forms of assessment.
  • No single assessment should be used as a sole determinant of any students academic, social, or emotional progress.
  • Assessment does allow teacher to have access to student progress.
  • Assessment does allow teachers to monitor and modify their own instruction.
  • The new learning standards and assessments have challenged all of us.

Working together we can have a positive outcome!