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Science Investigations: Aligning with New York State’s Latest Requirement for Elementary and Intermediate Education

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As New York State requirements evolve, a student management system needs to quickly adapt to those changes. SchoolTool’s response time to implementing NYS changes is something we pride ourselves on because we understand the direct impact it has on a district’s efficiency and ease when it comes to reporting to the state.  We want our teachers and administration to be able to focus their time and energy on student outcomes, not tending to SSEC code changes, data reporting errors, and other not-so-fun-but-critical time-consuming tedious tasks that feel like a constantly moving target. 

With a dedicated focus on New York State (and being headquartered there as well), it’s no surprise SchoolTool is first to roll out updates to ensure compliance with NYS requirements, while other Student Management Systems may have a response time implementing New York State-specific mandates that is a bit… undesirable. To be honest, there’s A LOT to pay attention to and if changes are happening in states other than New York, it’s understandable why they are delayed. We just feel educators in New York shouldn’t be left waiting in line while a vendor’s focus is redirected elsewhere.  

New York districts and schools deserve undivided attention. Bottom line.

What are the criteria for being New York State Compliant? 

Now, in order for a Student Management System to use the marketing buzzwords of “We’re New York State compliant!” they need to simply ensure they are able to do any required SIRS extract. If they do that, they’ve checked the box. Our SchoolTool team could just check the box as well and leave work early on a Friday afternoon, but our purpose isn’t to minimally serve the needs of New York State educators. We don’t want to just meet a requirement, but truly go above and beyond to provide an additional helping hand to teachers and administrators— That’s the SchoolTool difference! 

For example, we further support unique New York State requirements with validation, automation, and value-add functionality, such as:

  • Assessment dates are updated as soon as NYS Regents Exam schedules are released 
  • SSEC code changes are replaced with prior ones 
  • Data is automatically checked for errors and validated to ensure accuracy before it’s submitted to the state 
  • Extracts can be scheduled to automatically run and be delivered to a file location, email address, and/or an FTP site 
  • If additional assessments and exports are required by the state—but aren’t specifically mandated SIRS extracts— we add those too! (Keep reading…) 

We don’t just stop with SIRS extracts. We’ve gone above and beyond with NYS Science Investigations. 

New York State implemented brand new elementary and intermediate science investigations to help assess if students have developed a deeper understanding of scientific concepts and principles, by having them engage in hands-on experiments and test how they apply their knowledge to real-world situations.  

Science Investigates

In response to these recent NYS changes, SchoolTool added the required Science Investigates as User Defined Assessments (UDAs) allowing teachers to easily access them all within their gradebook! By utilizing SchoolTool’s User Defined Assessment, a teacher doesn’t need to understand code in order to tailor their assignment to align closely with the content and skills that students are expected to demonstrate in their science investigations, and can be confident they are meeting the specific learning objectives and standards of the curriculum.  

Schools aren’t mandated by the state to extract the Science Investigates data, so this was a value-added feature we felt was important to add to SchoolTool as a way to go above and beyond helping teachers out. Because Science Investigates don’t need to be exported, other SMSs may not add them into their solution. (Remember what we said earlier about doing the bare minimum to check the NY-compliant box?) 

In addition to being customizable, the UDAs also provide teachers with valuable data and insights into student performance. This data, available through SchoolTool Analytics, can help educators identify areas where students may be struggling and provide targeted support to help them succeed. By using data-driven assessments, teachers can make informed decisions about instruction and interventions, ultimately leading to improved student achievement. 

Always feel confident your district is prepared for any NYS changes ahead. 

Overall, the introduction of these new User Defined Assessments is a positive step forward in supporting New York State’s implementation of new science investigations. With these assessments, educators can confidently measure student understanding and provide the necessary support to help students thrive in their science education. 

By providing teachers with the tools they need to effectively assess student learning in an evolving educational landscape, it’s evident SchoolTool continues to have an unwavering commitment to supporting educators and students.

Contact us today to learn more about how SchoolTool’s User Defined Assessments can help your school excel in meeting the new science standards in New York State! 

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