NYSED: Majority of students did not take state math, ELA tests in 2021

ALBANY, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Education Department has released data for 2021 spring math and ELA assessments for grades three through eight.

According to NYSED, in 2021 only four out of ten students statewide participated in the Spring Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics tests.

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Specifically, out of the total students enrolled statewide, 41.9% took the ELA test. The math test saw an even lower participation rate while 39.9% of enrolled students took the test. These lower-than-majority rates, the Department said, were due to COVID-related circumstances.

“This year just 4 in 10 students took the tests so the data does not reflect the majority of students’ learning,” Education Commissioner Betty A. Rosa said in a press release. “State exams are just one of multiple measures of student learning used to help shape student individualized learning plans so they have the supports they need.”

“The pandemic exacerbated already existing inequities for students and this fact is most evident in our 2021 statewide assessment participation rates,” Board of Regents Chancellor Lester W. Young, Jr added. “The Board and the Department are committed to addressing these disparities by helping schools implement policies and practices to foster diversity, equity and inclusion in the classroom.”

Commissioner Rosa said that one factor that is believed to drive the low participation rate was the denial of an assessment waiver from the U.S. Department of Education for Spring 2021 tests. Because this waiver was denied, the Department administered shorter state assessments to those students who attended in-person learning. Tests were not required for remote students.

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NYSED stated that in an “ordinary year,” the participation rates are typically logged over 80%. The Department said it will return to the normal two-session test format in the Spring of 2022.

A breakdown of performance data for each district and school in the state can be found on the New York State Education Department website.

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