In a typical year, New York State Grades 3–8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics exams and the Grades 4 and 8 Science exams would be administered to nearly all students in their physical classroom. This year, many of our students are learning remotely, but the New York State Education Department (NYSED) has required that exams must still take place in-person in the school building. It will not be possible to administer state exams remotely.
Assessments will be administered in-person at your child’s school to students who would like to participate. Schools will conduct outreach to all families on whether you would like your student to participate in this year’s State exams so that schools can prepare and create a testing schedule that ensures the health and safety of all our students.
This document is intended to address questions about the administration of the Grades 3–8 ELA and Mathematics and Grades 4 and 8 Science exams in the 2020-21 school year. If you have additional questions, please contact your child’s school.
- This year, the ELA and Mathematics exams for grades 3 through 8 will be multiple choice only. The Science exams for grades 4 and 8 will consist only of questions that are multiple choice or require a short-written answer. · Any student, regardless of their selected learning preference, who chooses not to or cannot participate in the 2021 NYS ELA, Math, or Science exams will not be penalized in any way.
- In order for schools to plan for the health and safety of students and staff during test administration, families must notify their schools if their child will be participating in the exams.
- Students receiving fully-remote instruction are not expected to come to school to take the exams, but may choose to go to their school to take the NYS 3–8 ELA, Mathematics and Science exams.
- Performance on state exams will not be used for evaluating the school. · Health and safety are our first priorities. All schools will adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including ensuring sufficient PPE in school buildings. Visit schools.nyc.gov/RTShealthsafety to learn more.
Frequently Asked Questions
When are the NYS ELA and Mathematics exams for grades 3–8?
The NYS ELA and Mathematics exams are normally administered in two separate sessions over a two-day period. This year, all schools will administer only Session 1. This session includes only the multiple-choice items and will be administered on any day(s) within the following testing windows:
- ELA: April 19–29, 2021
- Mathematics: May 3–14, 2021
Your child’s school will schedule the exams within the windows above and notify you in advance of the test date and time. Testing will not occur on May 13, when schools are closed for Eid Al-Fitr.
When are the NYS Science exams for grades 4 and 8?
Only the one-day, written portion of the Science exams will be administered within the following window:
Your child’s school will schedule the exam within the window above and notify you in advance of the test date and time. Testing will not occur on June 8, when schools are closed for Clerical Day.
What precautions are being taken against COVID-19 during test administration?
All schools will adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols, including ensuring sufficient PPE in school buildings. Visit schools.nyc.gov/RTShealthsafety to learn more.
This year, there is flexibility in testing dates that will allow schools multiple days to schedule student testing when needed. School staff will create proctoring schedules and room assignments to allow for social distancing protocols.
How have the NYS Exams changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic?
In prior years, the NYS Grade 3–8 ELA and Mathematics exams were two-day exams. This year only the first day portion, the multiple-choice portion of the exam, will be administered. Schools may give the exams on any day within the testing windows.
In prior years, the Grades 4 and 8 Science exams included both a performance test and written test. This year, the Science exams for grades 4 and 8 will consist only of questions that are multiple choice or require a short, written answer.
In addition, state assessment results will not be used for school-level Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) accountability requirements for this school year.
Must I let my school know if I want my child to take the exam(s)?
In order to plan for the health and safety of our students and staff, parents should let their school know if they want their child to participate. If a school does not receive the request to test, your child will not participate in the exams. Should you decide to have your child tested, or change your decision, after the testing window has started, the school will make every effort to honor your request prior to the end of the testing window.
Can students that are receiving fully remote instruction take the NYS Grades 3–8 ELA, Mathematics, and Grades 4 and 8 Science exams remotely (at home)?
No. NYSED has determined that it will not be possible to administer any of this year’s State assessments remotely. Assessments will be school-based and in-person.
If my child is receiving fully-remote instruction, will they be expected to come in and test?
Students receiving fully remote instruction may come to school to take the exams but are not required to. If your child is participating in fully remote instruction and does not take the exam or cannot take the exam due to COVID-19 quarantine protocol, your student will not be penalized.
Can families bring fully-remote students into their school building to take the NYS 3–8 ELA and Mathematics exams and the Grades 4 and 8 Science exams?
Students who are receiving fully remote instruction may choose to go to their school building to take the NYS 3–8 ELA and Mathematics exams. Schools will contact families of students receiving fully remote instruction about their interest in having their child come to school to participate in the exams so that they can create the local testing schedule for all participating students. Families should communicate with their schools if they plan on sending their student(s) into school to take the exams.
What COVID-19 considerations must students currently receiving fully-remote instruction take if they come in to take the exams?
All students must complete the DOE Health Screening to enter the building. Students who are currently enrolled in fully-remote instruction do not need to complete the consent form for COVID-19 testing in order to enter the building for the exams.
What happens if my child’s school is closed and it will not be open on the school’s ELA, Mathematics, or Science testing dates?
If a school building is closed on the school’s testing date, students will not take the ELA, Mathematics, or Science exam on that date and will be tested within the remaining testing window when the school reopens. If the school does not reopen within the testing window, students will not be tested.
What happens if my child’s classroom is closed and will not be open on the school’s ELA, Mathematics, or Science testing dates?
If a classroom is closed on the school’s testing date, students from that classroom will not take the ELA, Mathematics, or Science exam on that date and will be tested within the remaining testing window when the classroom reopens. If the classroom does not reopen within the testing window, students will not be tested.
What happens if my child does not take a State exam?
Students will not be penalized for not taking a State exam.
How do these exams factor into middle and high school admissions?
Some middle and high schools have had academically screened programs that use exam scores as one of several criteria for admissions. You can learn more about these programs on the middle school page and high school page. Given the impact of COVID-19, the way in which these schools considered exam scores was altered for 2021-22 school year admissions, and information on 2022-23 school year admissions is forthcoming.