Questar III has coordinated the regional scoring of New York State assessments for many years. The extensive regional scoring process ensures the assessments are scored objectively and free from bias. Currently, Questar III handles the scoring of English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, Science, NYSESLAT state assessments as well as the Questar III-developed regional assessments.
Twenty of Questar III’s 22 component school districts send their ELA, Mathematics, Science and NYSESLAT to the BOCES for scoring. Districts within the RBERN regional also send their NYSESLAT assessments to the BOCES for scoring.
The drop-off and processing process is very extensive. As districts drop off assessments, Questar III counts and verifies each individual assessment, and keeps a running record of every assessment that arrives at the BOCES for scoring. After check in all assessments are stored in a secure vault awaiting scoring. The BOCES randomizes all assessments to ensure that district teachers participating in scoring do not score assessments from their own district. After scoring, Questar III packages the assessments according to New York State Education Department regulations and submits them to the Regional Information Center (NERIC) for processing. Questar III Assessment Coordinator Katie Barrett says on average, approximately 30,000 assessments come through Questar III for scoring each year.
Questar III also trains all teachers who score exams from Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties. This intense, comprehensive training program ensures each assessment is scored the same way – removing the subjectivity of individuals and making the whole process more uniform.
Barrett says it’s also beneficial for the teachers to come together with a common goal.
District teachers work with Questar III School Improvement Specialists for the training, and earn professional development hours for time spend training and scoring. Using the NYSED issued training documents, the content specialists train all district teachers from Rensselaer, Columbia and Greene counties. This intense, comprehensive training program ensures each assessment is scored the same way – removing the subjectivity of individuals and making the whole process more uniform. This year, teachers were able to access training materials on iPads. According to Barrett, the training materials used equals about fifteen cases of paper. Using digital training materials not only secures the documents, but also saves on the cost of paper, and the time spent copying the materials for each participating teacher.
“It also is a great opportunity to get regional teachers together with a common cause. It’s almost like a professional learning community because they are in the same process of scoring together and then they end up leaving with a built-up knowledge of the Common Core,” Barrett says.
There are two ways for districts to participate in regional scoring at two price levels. For ELA assessments, districts can send one teacher scorer per 40 student papers and pay $6.00 per paper, or one scorer per grade level and pay $11.00 per paper. For Math and Science, those options cost $5.00 and $10.00 respectively. Under all options, Questar III will hand deliver answer sheets to the Northeaster Regional Information Center (NERIC) if the district has purchased service, and districts are reimbursed for teacher substitutes.
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