Office of Assessment
Statewide assessments support student learning and measure students' academic achievement
Fall 2020 Assessments
As schools begin to plan for reopening in the fall and develop models of instruction to support students, it is important to consider that in the 2019-2020 school year, students attended and completed two-thirds of the year. With this in mind, the NH Department of Education is providing guidance to support public and charter schools with preparing for a range of assessments in the fall, in order to gain a perspective on the needs of students in New Hampshire from the systemic level down to the individual level:
New Hampshire Department of Education Assessment Policy and Procedures Manual - The purpose of this manual is to provide districts and schools with guidance regarding the policies and procedures pertaining to the federal and statewide assessment programs in the State of New Hampshire. Please refer to this manual for guidance on assessment requirements, accommodations, test security and assessment monitoring.
New Hampshire Statewide Assessment Systems
Annually, New Hampshire school districts and public charter schools are required by state law (RSA 193-C) and federal accountability laws (Every Student Succeeds Act) to assess students using a standardized assessment. Several assessments, outlined below, are utilized in order to comply with these requirements.
Statewide assessments are an important part of a student’s core educational program by providing:
- An evaluation of student mastery of content and skills in various academic areas
- Serve as one tool for measuring the degree to which students are on track to graduate high school and are college- and career-ready
- Help inform future instruction in the classroom
Along with student work on classroom assignments, projects, essays and local assessments, state assessment results give teachers, parents, and the community important information about where students are on their path toward academic success.
New Hampshire's federal accountability plan provides information on statewide accountability and improvement, educator support, student success, and assistance to our most at-risk youths: New Hampshire Consolidated State Plan
New Hampshire students participate in the NH SAS, the general statewide assessment, for English language arts (ELA), mathematics and science in the following grades and content areas:
- Grades 3-8 students are assessed in English language arts and mathematics
- Grades 5, 8 and 11 students are assessed in science
- Grade 11 students also participate in the College Board SAT School Day with Essay
NH SAS Designated Supports, Accommodations and Universal Tools Guide provides guidance to school-level personnel and decision making teams to use in determining universal tools, designated supports and accommodations for students prior to testing.
NH SAS Technical Reports 2018-19
- NH SAS Volume 1: Annual Technical Report 2018-19
- NH SAS Technical Glossary 2018-19
- NH SAS Volume 2, Part 1: ELA and Mathematics Test Development
- NH SAS Volume 2, Part 2: Science Test Development
- NH SAS Volume 3: Setting Performance Standards
- NH SAS Volume 4: Evidence of Reliability and Validity
- NH SAS Volume 5: Test Administration
- NH SAS Volume 6: Score Interpretation Guide
In New Hampshire, students with the most significant disabilities are assessed in English Language Arts (ELA), mathematics and science using Dynamic Learning Maps alternate assessment:
- Grades 3-8 and 11 students are assessed in English language arts and mathematics
- Grades 5, 8 and 11 students are assessed in science
- DLM Resources
The DLM alternate assessment is computer-based and designed to measure what students with significant cognitive disabilities know and can do. Students with significant cognitive disabilities participate in the alternate assessment, whose participation in the general statewide assessment, even with accommodations, is not appropriate.The Individualized Education Plan (IEP) team determines how a student will participate in the statewide assessment. For guidance on decision making, please see Accessibility and Accommodations for Students with Disabilities below.
New Hampshire students in grade 11 participate in the College Board state-provided SAT with Essay, as the general statewide assessment, for English language arts and mathematics.
ACCESS 2.0 is New Hampshire's language proficiency assessment for Kindergarten - Grade 12 students who have been identified as English language learners (ELLs). Federal law requires that all ELL students who qualify for English language proficiency services participate in the ACCESS 2.0 annually until the student achieves the exit criteria set by the State.
New Hampshire has operated the Performance Assessment for Competency Education (PACE) as a federally approved pilot program since 2015 under a special waiver from the United States Department of Education.
The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is also commonly known as "the Nation's Report Card," and is conducted at both the state and national level. This assessment has been focusing on what America's students know and are capable of doing in various subject areas by testing representative samples of students in grades 4, 8, and 12 in public and nonpublic schools since 1969.
To review NAEP results for New Hampshire schools, please go to the Bureau of Educational Statistics
General Guidelines: If the student is able to receive instruction than he/she is able to participate in the statewide assessment. Please review the New Hampshire Statewide Assessment Administration State and Federal Legal Requirements
Accessibility and Accommodations
Students with Disabilities
Individualized Education Plan (IEP) teams have the responsibility of making instructional and assessment decisions for each student with a disability. A student's Individual Education Program (IEP) team, reviews guidance found in the Accommodations and Alternate Assessment Decision Making Worksheet for Participation of Students with Disabilities in Statewide Assessments to make the decision if a student will participate in the DLM Alternate Assessment or general assessment (NH SAS and/or SAT). Only students with a significant cognitive disability participate in the alternate assessment.
English Language Learners
Students enrolled in a U.S. school for less than 12 months and identified as active English Learners, based on the WIDA Screener, are not required to take the statewide assessments (NHSAS, SAT or DLM). First year status is identified in the i4see system; therefore, a special exemption form is not required.
Each year, students with very serious, chronic, and fragile medical or other conditions can and do participate successfully in New Hampshire’s Statewide Assessment System. However, there are rare and unique situations in which a student is unable to participate in any part of the statewide assessment.
Such decisions must be made with the greatest care and restraint. Special considerations' requests to exempt student participation in the statewide assessment must be submitted to the New Hampshire Department of Education for approval.The school district reviews and completes the Statewide Assessment Exemptions - Request for Special Considerations form for an eligible student.
New Hampshire state law permits a parent/legal guardian to exempt their student from participating in any of the required statewide assessments. School districts must ensure a form is provided for a parent/legal guardian to complete and sign in order to exempt their student from participating in the statewide assessment. A school district may use this exemption form template
If a parent/legal guardian exempts their student, the school district and parent must agree upon an alternative educational activity during the testing period. It is recommended that the agreed upon activity is written on the exemption form that will be signed by the parent/legal guardian and school administrator, along with an acknowledgement statement that the exempted student will not receive an individual score or summary of academic performance based on the statewide assessment.