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What are ELA Common Core Tests?

What are ELA Common Core Tests?

posted by Karen Quinn, The Testing Mom - June 17th, 2013

Given to children in all grades, beginning in kindergarten and running through a student’s senior year, the ELA common core tests are relatively new in the world of standardized testing. The purpose of the tests is to ensure that all students are fully prepared for college study and their careers in several different areas.


 Reading and literacy are the main focuses of the tests, with ELA standing for English Language Arts. Students are tested on a broad range of language based skills, appropriate to each individual grade and learning level.

Students are tested on a range of specifics regarding both literature (fiction) and informational text. Skills in the areas of writing, speaking, language (grammar) are tested at all grade levels, with each test appropriate to a student’s expected level of learning. In later grades, more advanced listening and comprehension skills are tested. Foundational skills, tested up to grade five, focus on basics such as phonics and the understanding of spoken words and phrases. Tested subjects which are relatively unique to the ELA common core tests include the recognition of word roots and affixes and the reading and comprehension of age-appropriate prose and poetry

Other Subjects

 History and Social Studies are part of the tested curriculum, with the main focus on how well students can interpret and understand written information. History is not part of testing for children in grades K through five; it begins in grade six. Some tested areas include identifying how a particular piece of writing presents an idea (casually, comparatively, sequentially); determining and identifying the difference between reasoned judgments, opinions and facts; and general accurate interpretation and understanding of a grade-specific history and social studies text.

Science and Technical Subjects are covered as well. Testing assesses both the interpretation of written text in these areas of study. Also tested is the interpretation of similar information presented visually, such as in a flowchart, graph, diagram or symbol. A full breakdown of testing, by subject and age group, can be found at

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