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New York State (NYS) Assessments

Elementary and middle school students in New York State take yearly State tests in core academic subjects to assess their mastery of the Common Core Learning Standards. Students’ test results are one of the factors that schools use to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade. Educators also analyze students’ test results to help determine which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.

The links below take you to pages with more information about each particular test that elementary and middle school students take; you can also read more about how subjects are taught in New York City on the Academics page.

  • English Language Arts (ELA): Students in grades 3-8 take this test in spring.
  • Math: Students in grades 3-8 take this test in spring.
  • Science: Students in grades 4 and 8 take this test in spring.

Time Limits

The 2017 tests will be untimed, like the 2016 tests.  Students who are still working on their exams will be allowed to continue to work, within the confines of the regular school day, beyond the recommended testing times.

Without time limits, students are able to work at their own pace and not have to worry about the clock while taking the tests. The tests are designed to measure what students know and are able to do, not how quickly they can finish. As long as students are working productively, they will have as much time as they need to complete their tests, within the confines of the regular school day.

How the Tests are Administered

Students take the test on a computer instead of using a pencil and paper. Computer-based tests are tests administered on a computer, tablet, or Chromebook. Computer-based testing (CBT) has the potential to make the assessments stronger instructional tools and will make it possible to get test results back sooner.

This spring, some districts chose to participate in CBT for the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests. The computer tests and the paper tests are the same tests.

The State is helping districts transition to CBT and plans to have additional districts utilize CBT for the annual assessments next year.

What the Tests Cover

Every spring, the Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests are administered to students across New York State. These annual tests are designed to measure how well students are mastering the learning standards that guide classroom instruction and help to ensure that students are on track to graduate from high school with the critical thinking, problem solving, and reasoning skills needed for success in college and the modern workplace. The tests also show how schools and districts are progressing with the learning standards.

What’s Ahead

Hundreds of New York State educators were involved in creating and reviewing the 2017 assessments. Beginning in fall 2015 and going forward, a greater number of New York State teachers has been—and will continue to be—involved in the review of all test questions and construction of test forms. Teachers from across the State gathered in Albany throughout the summer and fall of 2016 to evaluate and select questions for the 2017 tests. For the first time ever, New York State teachers will write the test questions for the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests. These questions will first be used on the 2018 tests.

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