Yearly Testing

The federal No Child Left Behind Act requires states to define challenging academic standards and administer high-quality assessments so that students, teachers, parents, and administrators can measure progress against shared expectations for student achievement.

Elementary and middle school students in New York State take yearly State tests in core academic subjects to assess their mastery of the Common Core Learning Standards.

Students’ test results are one of the factors that schools use to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade. In high school, students must pass five Regents Exams in order to graduate and may earn an Advanced Diploma if they pass more exams. Read more about the elementary and middle school promotion policies or high school graduation requirements. Students in New York City also take tests to apply for admission to selective schools and programs and to prepare for college.

New York City and New York State use test results to evaluate how well schools are serving students. To learn more about how the subjects are taught in New York City, see the academics page

See here for the 2015-16 calendar of City and State testing. Translated versions are available in Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, French, Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Urdu.

Educators can find information about test administration and procedures on the Yearly Testing page on the DOE intranet.

Click a link below to jump to a specific topic:

Grades 3–8 State Tests

Elementary and middle school students in New York State take yearly State tests in core academic subjects to assess their mastery of the Common Core Learning Standards. Students’ test results are one of the factors that schools use to decide whether to promote a student to the next grade. Educators also analyze students’ test results to help determine which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.
The links below take you to pages with more information about each particular test that elementary and middle school students take; you can also read more about how subjects are taught in New York City on the Academics page. 

English Language Arts (ELA): Students in grades 3-8 take this test in spring.

  • Math: Students in grades 3-8 take this test in spring.
  • Science: Students in grades 4 and 8 take this test in spring.
Test Coordinators can find more information here

This Parent Guide includes more information on student participation and the State exams.

In addition to the supports offered above, the New York City Department of Education also creates Individual Student Reports (ISR's) that provide schools and families with additional information about students' performance on the previous year's grades 3 - 8 ELA and math State exams. Reports are availabe in schools' private ARIS communities. Teachers may want to share these reports during conferences with parents and schools should make them available for families, upon request.

In order to support the dissemination of the ISR's, schools can access English-language and translated versions of a letter to families here (note that schools can add the names of their Parent Coordinator and Principal in the PDF).

In addition, "Understanding the ISR Reports" are available for both ELA and math. Translated versions of these reports are available in Arabic (ELA and math), Bengali (ELA and math), Chinese (ELA and math), French (ELA and math), Haitian Creole (ELA and math), Korean (ELA and math), Russian (ELA and math), Spanish (ELA and math), and Urdu (ELA and math).

LOTE Exams

On June 20, 2016, the NYC LOTE (Languages Other than English) exams will be offered in 21 languages: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, German, Greek, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latin, Polish, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Urdu, and Vietnamese. Students must pass a LOTE exam to earn an Advanced Regents diploma.

Regents Exams

High school students in New York State take Regents Exams to assess their mastery of New York State Learning Standards. In order to graduate from high school, students must pass exams in five subjects: English, mathematics, science, global history, and U.S. history and government. Student may also earn an Advanced Regents diploma if they pass additional exams in math, science, and a foreign language.

Learn more about Regents Exams and New York City high school graduation requirements.

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Tests for Students with Disabilities

Some students with disabilities are eligible to take New York State Alternate Assessments (NYSAA)  in place of the general education State tests in grades 3-8, or Regents Competency Tests (RCTs) in place of Regents Exams in high school. 

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Tests for English Language Learners (ELLs)

New students who speak languages other than English at home take the Language Assessment Battery (LAB-R) test within ten days of starting school in New York State. The LAB-R assesses students’ English language skills. Educators use the results of the assessment to determine whether students should receive special services to help them learn English.

Students who receive English as a second language assistance take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test (NYSESLAT) every year to determine how well they are learning English. Students will continue to receive special language services until their scores on the NYSESLAT are high enough to show that they are ready to participate in English-only programs. Educators also use students’ NYSESLAT scores to help determine which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.

Students who are unable to understand the math, science, and social studies State tests in English may take versions translated into Chinese (traditional), Haitian Creole, Korean, Russian, or Spanish. When tests are not available in the student's native language, the test may be translated orally to the student. ELLs 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. 

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Gifted and Talented Testing

Any student who wishes to apply to New York City’s Gifted and Talented (G&T) elementary school programs must take the Gifted and Talented Test. All students in pre-Kindergarten through Grade 2 who are current New York City residents are eligible for the tests. Students who score in the top ten percent are eligible for G&T programs in their local district. Students who score in the top three percent are also eligible for citywide G&T programs. For more information about New York City Elementary School Gifted and Talented programs, see the Gifted and Talented Test Information and handbooks.

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Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT)

Students in grades 8 or 9 who wishes to enroll in one New York City’s specialized high schools must take the Specialized High School Admissions Test (SHSAT) in the fall to demonstrate their verbal and math skills. All students in grades 8 and 9 who are current New York City residents are eligible for the tests. Students are ranked according to their scores on the test, and assigned to a school depending on their rank on the list, the priority in which they placed schools, and the seats available at each school. Learn more about the high school admissions process

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Preliminary SAT (PSAT)

City public school students in grades 10 and 11 may take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT)  for free in the fall. The PSAT assesses students' verbal and math skills. It helps put students on track for college success by giving them practice for the SAT exams, which many colleges require for admission. It also gives students access to college and career planning tools and the chance to enter the National Merit Scholarship competition. Schools administer the PSAT to their students; families do not need to register students or make a special request to participate in the test.

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Foreign Language Achievement Exams

English Language Learners in grades 3 through 12 enrolled in Spanish and Chinese bilingual programs as well as English-proficient students in grades 3-12 in Spanish and Chinese dual language programs are assessed in Spanish and Chinese reading achievement. Students will take either the El Examen de Lectura en Español (ELE) or the Chinese Reading Test  to determine their proficiency in these languages.

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National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP)

A sample of New York City schools also participate in NAEP assessments every year. NAEP provides a common way of comparing academic performance at a high level across states and over time. Not every student or school takes the NAEP; only a limited sample of schools and students participate each year. NAEP assesses students in math, reading, science, writing, the arts, civics, economics, geography, and U.S. history; different subjects are assessed in different years. NAEP does not give scores for individual students or schools, and is not used for any New York State or New York City accountability purposes.

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