STATEWIDE EDUCATION IMPROVEMENT AND ASSESSMENT PROGRAM
193-C:1 Statement of Purpose.
I. Improvement and accountability in education are of primary concern to all of the citizens of New Hampshire. A well-educated populace is essential for the maintenance of democracy, the continued growth of our economy, and the encouragement of personal enrichment and development.
II. A statewide education improvement and assessment program built upon the establishment of academic standards specifying what students should know and be able to do is an important element in educational improvement. Such a program also serves as an effective measure of accountability and student performance when the assessment exercises or tasks are valid and appropriate representations of the knowledge and skills that students are expected to achieve.
III. Widespread participation in the establishment of a statewide education improvement and assessment program is essential. Consultation with educators at all levels, business people, government officials, community representatives, and parents must occur in the development of academic standards. In turn, widespread dissemination of those standards, once established, must occur. Teachers, administrators, and school board members must be fully apprised of these state-developed standards. They must, in turn, communicate these expectations to students and parents, and find and implement methods to enable students to acquire and apply the requisite knowledge and skills.
IV. In addition, the assessment results must be reported to students, parents, teachers, administrators, school board members, and to all other citizens of New Hampshire in order that informed decisions can be made concerning curriculum, in-service education, instructional improvement, teacher training, resource allocation, and staffing.
VI. The purpose of the statewide education improvement and assessment program is not to establish a statewide curriculum. It is, rather, to establish what New Hampshire students should know and be able to do and to develop and implement effective methods for assessing that learning and its application so that local decisions about curriculum development and delivery can be made.
Source. 1993, 290:2. 2013, 263:7, I. 2016, 84:3, eff. July 18, 2016.
In this chapter:
I. "Commissioner" means the commissioner of the department of education.
II. "Committee" means the legislative oversight committee established to review the statewide education improvement and assessment program.
III. "Department" means the department of education.
IV. "Program" means the New Hampshire statewide education improvement and assessment program.
V. "Testing entity" means any vendor contracted to provide the statewide assessment under RSA 193-C:6.
Source. 1993, 290:2, eff. June 22, 1993. 2019, 323:7, eff. Oct. 12, 2019.
193-C:3 Program Established; Goals.
There is established within the department of education a statewide education improvement and assessment program. The commissioner shall develop and implement this program in conjunction with the state board of education and the legislative oversight committee. In carrying out this program, the commissioner shall consult widely with educators at all levels, business people, government officials, community representatives, and parents.
I. The aims of this program shall be to:
(a) Define what students should know and be able to do.
(b) Develop and implement methods for assessing that learning and its application.
(c) Report assessment results to all citizens of New Hampshire.
(d) Help to provide accountability at all levels.
(e) Use the results, at both the state and local levels, to improve instruction and advance student learning.
II. Since the program is not a minimum competency testing program, assessment instruments should be designed to reflect the range of learning exhibited by students. The assessment portion of the program shall consist of a variety of assessment tasks that measure academic standards and are objectively scored. The assessment instruments shall include, but not be limited to:
(a) Constructed response items which require students to produce answers to questions rather than to select from an array of possible answers.
(b) A writing sample.
(c) Other open-ended performance tasks.
III. The following criteria shall be used in the development of the program:
(a) Academic standards specifying what students should know and be able to do shall be clearly defined before assessment procedures and exercises are developed.
(b) The assessment exercises or tasks shall be valid and appropriate representations of the academic standards the students are expected to achieve.
(c) At each grade level assessed, the standards and expectations identifying what a student should know and be able to do shall be the same for every New Hampshire student.
(d) Teachers shall be involved in designing and using the assessment system.
(e) Assessment frameworks and reports shall be understandable and widely disseminated to parents, teachers, administrators, other school personnel, school board members, teacher preparation programs, business people, government officials, and community members.
(f) The assessment system shall be subject to continuous review and improvement.
(g) The assessment portion of the program shall be designed to be a measure of student academic achievement and growth of knowledge and skills.
IV. The assessment system shall generate data which may be used:
(a) At the student level, by students, parents, and teachers, to determine what the student knows and is able to do in relationship to the state-established academic standards.
(b) At the classroom and school building levels, to monitor student progress and to enhance learning.
(c) At the district level, to measure school and district-wide progress toward meeting goals and outcomes, to revise curriculum, to design in-service education programs, and to improve instruction.
(d) At the state level, to measure what students know and are able to do in relation to the attainment of goals and outcomes from the assessment frameworks, and to report the results to the citizens of New Hampshire.
(e) At the state level, to target services to schools, improve existing programs, develop new initiatives, and revise standards for school improvement, teacher certification, etc.
(f) At the college level, to integrate into teacher preparation programs instruction in state-established standards, techniques for enhancing student learning in these areas, and the use of assessment results to improve instruction.
(g) At all levels, to correlate, to the extent possible, with national goals and international standards.
(h) At all levels, to provide a basis for accountability.
(i) At the end of grade 3, to determine if pupils are at grade level in reading and mathematics on a standardized test to be developed by the department or an authorized, locally-administered assessment developed in consultation with the department, as part of a statewide assessment program, and to provide differentiated aid to schools pursuant to RSA 198:40-a for pupils not proficient on the reading component of the statewide or locally-administered assessment.
(j) At the school, district, and state levels, to provide performance reports on specific subgroups of pupils as required by federal law.
(k) At the high school level, to serve as one indicator of a student's postsecondary education readiness.
Source. 1993, 290:2. 2003, 314:7. 2016, 20:1; 84:4, 5. 2017, 100:1, eff. Aug. 7, 2017. 2018, 42:1, eff. July 14, 2018.
The state board of education shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, relative to the exemption of certain students from participation in the program. Nothing in this section shall be construed to limit the ability of the state board of education to adopt rules pursuant to the authority granted by the general court.
Source. 1993, 290:2, eff. June 22, 1993.
193-C:5 Areas of Assessment.
The statewide academic areas to be assessed shall include reading and language arts, mathematics, and science. History, geography, civics, and economics remain required critical areas of study. Therefore, assessment of these subjects remains within the purview of the local school board. The statewide assessment program shall only measure student understanding of key content-specific concepts, skills, and knowledge applied within or across academic content domains.
Source. 1993, 290:2. 2007, 3:1. 2014, 321:1. 2016, 75:1, eff. July 18, 2016.
193-C:6 Assessment Required.
A statewide assessment shall be administered in all school districts in the state once in an elementary school grade, once in a middle school grade, and one grade in high school. For those years in grades 3 through 8 in which the school district does not administer the statewide assessment, the school district, in consultation with the department and as part of the statewide education improvement and assessment program, shall develop and administer its own assessment or shall administer a standardized assessment that identifies a pupil's range of learning and yields objective data to use in improving instruction and learning. All public school students in the designated grades shall participate in the assessment, unless such student is exempted from taking the test by his or her parent or legal guardian, or provided that the commissioner of the department of education may, through an agreement with another state when such state and New Hampshire are parties to an interstate agreement, allow pupils to participate in that state's assessment program as an alternative to the assessment required under this chapter. Home educated students may contact their local school districts if they wish to participate in the statewide assessment. Private schools may contact the department of education to participate in the statewide assessment. The department may use the College Board SAT or ACT college readiness assessment to satisfy the high school assessment requirements of this chapter. The statewide assessment results of a student or the student's school district shall not be included as part of the student's transcript unless the student, if 18 years of age or older, or the student's parent or legal guardian if the student is under 18 years of age, consents. A school district shall not penalize any exempted student nor shall the department of education or the state board of education penalize any school district for a lower participation rate. A school district shall develop a form to be signed by the parent or legal guardian of any student exempted from the assessment. The school district shall provide an appropriate alternative educational activity for the time period during which the assessment is administered. The alternative activity shall be agreed upon by the school district and the parent or legal guardian of the student. The name of the parent or legal guardian and any specific reasons disclosed to school officials for the objection to the assessment shall not be public information and shall be excluded from access under RSA 91-A.
Source. 1993, 290:2. 1999, 224:2. 2007, 3:2. 2015, 226:1. 2017, 16:1, eff. June 16, 2017; 88:1, eff. Aug. 4, 2017; 142:2, eff. Aug. 15, 2017. 2018, 91:1, eff. July 24, 2018.
Section 193-C:7, 193-C:8
193-C:7, 193-C:8 Repealed by 2020, 37:4, XV, eff. July 29, 2020.
193-C:9 Repealed by 2013, 263:7, II, eff. Sept. 22, 2013.
193-C:10 Accessibility of Assessment Materials.
After the assessment results are released by the department, a pupil's parent or legal guardian shall have the right to inspect and review the pupil's assessment, including the questions asked, the pupil's answers, instructions or directions to the pupil, and other supplementary materials related or used to administer the pupil's assessment. A parent or legal guardian shall direct a request for inspection or review to the pupil's school, and the school shall comply with such request within 45 days of its receipt. The department of education shall make available released assessment items on the department's website as soon as possible after the statewide assessment results are released. The commissioner shall adopt rules, pursuant to RSA 541-A, to implement procedures for the review and inspection of assessment materials. These rules shall provide parents and legal guardians with no fewer rights accorded to them under the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
Source. 1998, 290:1. 2014, 219:1, eff. Sept. 12, 2014.
193-C:11 Anonymity of Pupil Assessment Results; Parental Authorization Required.
Individual pupil names or codes contained in the statewide assessment results, scores, or other evaluative materials shall be deleted for the purposes of records maintenance and storage of such results or scores at the department of education, unless a parent or legal guardian provides written authorization otherwise, or as required under federal law. Individual pupil results shall be made available to a parent, a legal guardian, or the pupil's school in accordance with the Family Educational and Privacy Rights Act, 20 U.S.C. 1232g.
Source. 1998, 290:1, eff. Jan. 1, 1999.
193-C:12 Pupil Assessment Information.
I. The department shall provide the testing entity as defined in RSA 189:65, VIII, with individual pupil names and unique pupil identifiers. The testing entity shall maintain the results, scores, or other evaluative materials for the purpose of measuring and reporting individual student growth.
II. The department may provide, or may request the testing entity to provide, the assessment results and comparative data to a parent, a legal guardian, or the pupil's school as provided in RSA 193-C:11. The department may collect, and the districts shall provide, student address information from the individual school districts solely for the purpose of effectuating the distribution of assessment results and comparative data as provided in this section.
III. The report shall be provided to parents in an informative and instructional manner to help children meet challenging state academic standards and advance student learning.
IV. The testing entity shall destroy all student data after 8 years.
Source. 2019, 323:1, eff. Oct. 12, 2019. 2021, 20:1, eff. July 5, 2021.