Yearly Testing

New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT)

Who takes this test?

All students in kindergarten through grade 12 who receive English as a second language services (ESL) take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) every year to determine how well they are learning English.
 

What is on the test?

The NYSESLAT has five grade bands: Kindergarten 1, 24, 56, 78 and 912. It assesses students speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills, defined by New York State’s English as a Second Language Learning Standards. The speaking section is administered individually and asks students to respond to a word or statement read aloud or to a picture. The other sections can be administered to students in a group. The reading section asks students to answer questions about stories printed in their test books. The writing section asks students to write in response to questions and prompts in their test books. The listening section asks students to select the correct response to a picture and/or word or statement read aloud.

How are the results reported?

The results are reported in raw scores, scale scores, and performance levels. The “raw score” is simply the number of correct answers, which is converted to a “scale score,” which makes it possible to compare scores across grade levels. Scale scores are divided into four performance levels that show how well students have mastered English language skills.

  • Proficient: Students function fluently in listening, reading, writing, and speaking; their skills are equal to those of native English speakers at their appropriate grade level. These students have attained the skills necessary to participate in an English-speaking classroom.
  • Advanced: Students are able to use skills at a higher level than intermediate students. Although their knowledge and use of English is at a more advanced level, mistakes are made, usually involving more subtle use of language and more difficult levels of vocabulary and grammar.
  • Intermediate: Students have better English skills than students at the basic level; however, their skills are often not well developed and they make significant errors in the four skill areas.
  • Beginning: Students are simply at the beginning level in the four skill areas. These students’ English skills are minimal.

How are the results used?

Students will continue to receive English as Second Language (ESL) or bilingual services until their scores on the NYSESLAT show that they have learned English well enough to participate in English-only classes. Educators also use students’ NYSESLAT scores to help determine which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.