Results Of State Tests Are Delayed

The state Education Department recently announced that the results for the spring state tests would not be delivered on time to school districts across the state.

“The school year is already underway,” said Bret Apthorpe, Jamestown Public Schools superintendent, regarding the delay.

For Jamestown, any state results the district receives beyond this point will strictly be used as a reference point. The district utilizes internal assessments in order to shape the following year’s programming and placement of students. Apthorpe said the state testing results usually play a factor into the aforementioned process, but will not be utilizing as extensively now that the results have not been made public and the school year has begun. He cited the recent delay as the longest one in “recent memory.”

“It’s always been a problem getting 3-8 test results back in a timely fashion,” Apthorpe said.

A recent Wall Street Journal article cited a state Education Department spokesman stating the results would be released in mid- to late- September. A state official also attributed the delayed results to last spring’s tests being reduced from a three-day period to just two days.

Apthorpe said the results are notoriously not given to school districts in a “timely fashion” in order to help shape programming the following school year.

“School started. Placements have been made. If we waited for the test results to come back, it’s too late,” Apthorpe said. “That’s why we have to use internal assessments. We don’t depend on the state tests for being a major indicator now.”

Apthorpe explained that school districts have always argued that getting the results in August was too late. Now that it was announced they wouldn’t be released until September, the superintendent said the news was “disappointing.”

Apthorpe compared the state 3-8 ELA testing for math and English to the Regents exams that are graded within the school either the day of or within several days of the actual testing. With the 3-8 ELA testing, the results are held because of its unique grading process Apthorpe described as “norming the average.”

“It’s a complicated series of statistical formulas that present what the state would call credible scores,” he said.

Apthorpe said schools who don’t utilize internal assessments would be greatly impacted by the delay, but he believed most schools in Chautauqua County conducts separate assessments. He noted that the recent delay will add to previous concerns that the state testing isn’t “credible.”

“It’s hard to consider them as the most credible source of testing information on children,” he said.