Albany, NY — The legality and appropriateness of the New York State Education Department’s (NYSED) attempt to delay access to important student performance metrics is being challenged in a formal appeal of an Empire Center Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) request.

On September 8, the Empire Center submitted a FOIL request for the most recent results of the mathematics and English Language Acquisition (ELA) exams taken last year by students in grades 3-8, after NYSED publicly announced in August that it had shared the exam results with individual schools and parents. NYSED’s response to the FOIL noted it did not expect to provide a response until at least January 31, 2023.The annual state exam results had, until this year, been released in August or around the start of the school year.

Last spring’s exam results are of heightened interest and concern as it was the first full, statewide administration of the exam since the 2018-19 academic year — prior to the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic. The new exam data is widely expected to give the public its best window yet into the extent of any Covid learning loss statewide.

“New York students have likely suffered unprecedented learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we cannot begin to appropriately remedy that loss without knowing the nature and extent of the damage,” said Tim Hoefer, president and CEO of the Empire Center. “Keeping test scores hidden from the public is certainly not in the best interest of students, parents or taxpayers. It’s a suspect move, at best, when we already know the data have been collected and distributed to others.”

The recent release of national Covid-learning loss data derived from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP) made nationwide headlines, and state-level exam data from the past school year has been released by many states. For instance, Texas released its Spring 2022 state test results back on July 1st.

The Empire Center, based in Albany, is an independent, not-for-profit, non-partisan think tank dedicated to promoting policies that can make New York a better place to live, work and raise a family. 

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