November 12, 2021
Dear Parents and Families,
Commissioner Rosa
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) recently released the scores of the Spring 2021 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests. Due to circumstances related to the pandemic, approximately 4 out of 10 students participated in this year’s tests. In ELA, 41.9 percent of students enrolled in grades 3-8 took the exam and in math, 39.9 percent of enrolled students took the exam.
In an ordinary year, the percentage of students who participate in the tests is typically over 80 percent. Therefore, the 2021 grades 3-8 test results are not representative of the state’s student population and should not be compared to that of previous school years, statewide, or among subgroups of students. As a result, NYSED is not making statewide comparisons of the data and only district and school level results are posted on NYSED’s public data website.
Although statewide comparisons of 2021 grades 3–8 test results are not recommended, the data can still be used as a snapshot of student attainment by districts, schools, instructors, and families. The results allow educators to better understand individual students’ needs and to consider individualized support. In addition, although a state test score does not tell the whole story about what a student knows, the results can provide valuable information to parents and families about their child’s understanding of the state learning standards. A Frequently Asked Questions document is available providing more information about this year’s exams.
This week, NYSED announced that the New York State My Brother’s Keeper (NYSMBK) Community Network has grown again, and now includes 31 member communities. NYSMBK recently added connections with Arlington, Elmont, Roosevelt, Sewanhaka, and Uniondale to join the growing initiative to improve outcomes for boys and young men of color. Find more information about the NYSMBK Community Network and a full list of member communities on our website.
We also announced that a new exhibition, Courage: The Black Struggle for Quality Education, is now open for the public to view at the New York State Museum. The exhibition explores the visions and aspirations of courageous leaders and parents who have sought to equitably educate Black children. Developed by the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, and on loan to the State Museum, the exhibition will be on view in the Museum’s Photography Gallery through June 2022. The Adelaide L. Sanford Institute made the exhibition available to the Museum in honor of Vice Chancellor Emerita Dr. Adelaide L. Sanford of the Board of Regents.
Finally, NYSED is seeking stakeholder input on a potential waiver request to the United States Department of Education related to making school and district accountability determinations based on results from the 2021-22 school year. Survey responses will be accepted through November 19. We look forward to receiving your input as we consider our next steps in this process.
Thank you for all you do to support strong family and community involvement in our schools.


Betty A. Rosa