Yearly Testing

New York State English Language Arts (ELA) Test

Who takes this test?

Students in grades 3–8 take the State English Language Arts (ELA) test each spring. These assessments measure the Common Core Learning Standards (CCLS).

Students who have been in the United States for less than one year are not required to take the New York State ELA test in their grade, but must start taking ELA tests after their first year. Some 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 ELA test is a timed test that contains several different types of questions. Students answer multiple choice questions based on short passages they read, and write responses to open-ended questions based on stories, articles, or poems they listen to or read. See the academics page for more information about how ELA 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. 

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. Parents can also see their child’s scores on ARIS Parent Link.

How are the results used?

Educators use student test results to assign students to appropriate classes and identify areas where the student needs extra help or more challenging material. Teachers and principals use the results from the ELA Test to make decisions about promotion and summer school. Educators also examine school-wide results to identify broad instructional areas that require improvement.