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LES to give computer-based testing a dry run

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Starting this week, fourth-grade students at Liberty Elementary School will take computerized tests in English language arts to help prepare for New York's official transition to computer-based state testing next year.

In a memo last fall, the New York State Education Department (SED) invited all New York schools to try out computer-based testing in this spring’s field test, to give administrators, teachers, students and state officials a chance to see how they work in real school settings.

Liberty Central School District is among more than 900 schools participating in the field test.

Only fourth-grade students are taking part in the field tests. The field tests will be available on iPads and administered between May 23 and June 10.

Districts will have the option of offering online testing for the actual state exams in 2016-17, and both computer and paper state exams will be offered through 2020. The transition to computer-based testing is meant to be slow in consideration of each district’s technological infrastructure and different logistical challenges.

This transition stems move from the state’s “commitment to meeting the needs of 21st century learners, while at the same time improving test delivery, test integrity, scoring validity, and turn-around time on testing results,” Executive Deputy Commissioner Elizabeth Berlin said in the memo.

Field test results do not affect student grades or factor into accountability ratings for districts, schools or teachers. Rather, the tests are given to help ensure questions used in future state exams are appropriate and fair for all students.

The web-based test delivery platform includes accommodations for students with disabilities, English learners and English learners with disabilities. Students also will have access to on-screen math tools, such as calculators, protractors and rulers, approved for their grade level.

The 40-minute tests will be administered to just one grade and in one subject and won't count on student transcripts or toward final grades. The purpose of the test is to help the district pinpoint any technical issues and to help get students comfortable with the technology.

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