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. 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.
There is also a New York State Science Test administered annually in all New York State schools to students in grades 4 and 8.
The ELA exams are developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill to match New York State Learning Standards. The ELA exams test reading comprehension, writing mechanics, and listening comprehension abilities. 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 Mathematics exams are developed by CTB/McGraw-Hill to match New York State Learning Standards. The content varies depending on grade level and includes the following topics: number sense and operations, measurement, statistics, probability, algebra, and geometry.
The Science exams are developed to match New York State Learning Standards. 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.
ELA exams are administered in two or three sessions on two or three consecutive days depending on grade level. They include multiple-choice, short response, and extended response questions.
The Mathematics exams are administered in two sessions on two consecutive school days. They include multiple-choice, short response, and extended response questions. A calculator is NOT permitted for students in grades 3-6. A scientific calculator is permitted for a portion of the exam for students in grades 7-8.
Both the 4th grade and 8th grade tests consist of a written test and a performance test. The written test consists of multiple-choice and open-ended questions. The Grade 4 version takes one hour to administer while the Grade 8 version takes two hours. The Performance Test consists of hands-on tasks set up at three stations. The 4th grade version takes 75 minutes to administer while the 8th grade version takes 45 minutes.
Score reports for each exam are returned to schools and contain information about how well students performed on the tests. This information is shown in two graphs. The first graph shows a student’s overall performance on the tests based on a performance-level range between 1 and 4. Each level is clearly described in the score report. The second graph shows the Standards Performance Index (SPI) score. This score indicates a student’s relative strengths and weaknesses in the subject areas tested compared to the New York State Learning Standards.
All New York State public school students in grades 3 through 8 take the English Language Arts test in January and the Mathematics test in March. Students in Grades 4 and 8 take the Science Test in June. Approximate testing periods are from one and a half to three hours over the course of two to three days depending on the grade.