The New York State English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests are standardized tests administered annually in all New York State public schools to students in grades 3 through 8. These tests were developed by Pearson and align with Common Core State Standards. There are different versions of both tests at each grade level. These tests are used to evaluate and compare schools across the state. Score reports also serve to inform teachers and parents about a student’s weaknesses and strengths. Moreover, score data is carefully considered for admissions to selective public schools and independent schools.
There is also a New York State Science Test administered annually in all New York State schools to students in grades 4 and 8.
Format and Content
The ELA exams align with Common Core State Standards to test reading, writing, language, speaking and listening. They measures students’ attainment of skills such as understanding story events, drawing conclusions, making predictions, identifying the main idea, using vocabulary strategies, identifying supporting details, identifying point of view, evaluating ideas, understanding features that distinguish genres, and using figurative language to interpret text. The test also presents a wide range of genres and informational texts, which are presented in the chart below.
Question types include multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response. The test is administered over 3 days with testing lasting 50 minutes each day.
The Mathematics exams align with Common Core State Standards. The content varies depending on grade level and includes the following topics: number sense and operations, measurement, statistics, probability, algebra, and geometry.
Question types include multiple-choice, short-response, and extended-response.The test is administered over 3 successive days with testing comprised of three books. Days 1 and 2 have 60-minute testing sessions. Day 3 has a 90-minute testing session.
Fourth graders need to have a ruler and a protractor.
Calculators are not permitted for grade 3-5.
Sixth graders must have the exclusive use of a 4-function calculator with a square root key or a scientific calculator for books 2 and 3.
Seventh and Eighth graders must have the exclusive use a scientific calculator for books 2 and 3.
The Science exams align with Common Core State Standards. For grade 4, Part 1 consists of 30 multiple-choice questions, and Part 2 consists of 13 open-ended questions. Students have unlimited time to complete the questions. For grade 8, Part 1 consists of 45 multiple-choice questions, and Part 2 consists of 40 open-ended questions. The test is 2 hours and permits use of a calculator. The content varies depending on grade level and includes the following topics: living vs. nonliving things, plants, animals, genetics, ecology, matter, energy, forces, astronomy, meteorology, water, erosion, process skills, geology, chemistry, physics, measurement, classification/sorting, magnetism, electricity, and inclined planes.
After the test, and often not for several months, parents receive a Parent Report that summarizes their child’s performance. This report includes a scaled score, a performance level, and an overall state percentile rank. The scaled score is determined by the number of points your child earned on the test. A performance level is then assigned based on the scaled score. There are 4 performance level which include NYS Level 1, NYS Level 2, NYS Level 3, and NYS Level 4. The overall state percentile rank compares your child’s score to the rest of the students who took the same subject area test that particular school year. Percentile ranks are reported on a scale of 1-99.
2013-2014 School Year: