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Yearly Testing

State Assessment in Science

Who takes this test?

Students in grade 4, and most students in grade 8, take the State Assessment in Science to determine how well they have learned the New York State Learning Standards.

Students in Grade 7 who have completed all of the material in the Intermediate-Level Science Core Curriculum, and are under consideration for placement in an accelerated high school level science course in grade 8, may also take the test. If students take the test in grade 7, they will not take it again in grade 8. School principals have the discretion to either require or waive the Grade 8 Science Test for accelerated Grade 8 students who will take a Regents Examination in science at the end of the school year.

English Language Learners in grades 4 and 8 must take the State Assessment in Science. Exams are available in Chinese (traditional), Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, and Spanish. When tests are not available in the student's native language, the test may be translated orally. Students with disabilities may take the New York State Alternate Assessments (NYSAA) in place of the general State Test, if specified on their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs).

What is on the test?

The Assessment in Science asks students to demonstrate scientific knowledge and to apply scientific concepts, formulate hypotheses, make predictions, or use other scientific inquiry techniques. The State Assessment in Science is a timed test with multiple parts. The written examination consists of multiple-choice and short and long open-ended questions. The assessment also includes a one-hour laboratory performance examination, which assesses students’ skill using hands-on equipment and materials to answer scientific questions. See the Academics page for more information about how science is taught in New York City.

How are the results reported?

The number of correct answers a student gives on a test is converted into the student’s “scale score”. The scale score makes it possible to compare performance on the tests across different grades. Scale scores are divided into four performance levels. Students who score at level 3 or 4 have met or exceeded State Learning Standards. Students who score at level 1 or 2 have not met standards and may not be promoted to the next grade level.

Schools distribute test results on Individual Student Reports (ISRs) to every parent. The ISRs include the student's scale score, performance level, and information on his or her strengths and weaknesses in the different skill areas tested.

How are the results used?

Educators use individual student test results to assign students to the appropriate classes and to identify areas where the student needs extra help, or where he or she may be ready for more challenging material. Teachers and principals also use the results from the whole class, grade, or school, to identify areas where they can improve instruction.