New York State Assessments

2015 Student Participation in Grades 3-8 New York State Tests


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


In New York State, Commissioner Regulations 100.3 and 100.4 require school districts to annually administer the Grades 3-8 New York State tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics and the administration of the Grade 4 and Grade 8 Science tests.  This requirement is an outgrowth of the Federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.  Over the last several years, there has been much public debate regarding these tests. The frequently asked questions below are designed to provide you with more information regarding the testing.[2]

When are the 2015 Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics State tests?

The Grades 3-8 ELA tests will be administered at the Central Islip elementary and middle schools from April 14-16, and the make-up dates will take place on April 17, 20, 21. The Mathematics test will be administered from April 22-24, and the make-up period will take place April 27-29. Visit to view links to State Assessment dates.

What happens if I choose to have my child refuse to participate in the State tests, commonly known as “opting out[3]”?

If a parent/legal guardian chooses to have their child(ren) refuse to participate in the State tests, he/she must submit a hardcopy letter [4] with original signature to the principal of their child’s school. This letter must indicate that he/she is choosing to have his/her child refuse to participate in the ELA and/or Math State Tests.

During the test administration, the child will be assigned to an alternate location and will be permitted to read and/or write until the test administration has concluded for each day; at which time, the child will rejoin his/her class.

Students who do not participate do not receive a valid score, and are considered to be “not tested.”

What happens if my child is absent for the Grades 3-8 ELA and Math test(s) or the Grade 4 Science test?

If your child is absent during the administration of these State tests, the test will be administered to your child during the make-up period. If your child is absent during the make-up period, your child will not be tested.

Are the results of these tests used for student placement?

State tests are only one of multiple measures used by teachers and administrators to make informed instructional decisions regarding student placement in academic programs.  NYSED Commissioner Regulations 100.2 ee requires that schools provide Academic Intervention Services (AIS) for students who score below the state-designated performance level on one of more of the State tests in ELA, Mathematics, or Science. State test scores are not used for grade level promotion or retention.

What happens to State and Federal school accountability if a large number of students refuse to participate in the State tests?

Under State and Federal accountability rules, the State measures each school’s participation rate in the State tests. Regardless of the reason (absent, refusal, medically excused, etc.), if less than 95% of a school’s students or one or more of its subgroups (e.g., students with disabilities) take the State tests, the school does not make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP). Not making AYP for two consecutive years has an impact on a school’s State and Federal accountability status that may affect its level of support and intervention by the NYSED.

What are the consequences for a school if they do not meet “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP)?

If a school does not make AYP for two consecutive years, it is designated a School in Need of Improvement by NYSED and is required to participate in a School Quality Review (SQR).  This includes, at a minimum, a self-assessment of the educational program and the development of a School Improvement Plan which must be approved by the State Education Department.  According to NYSED, continuously not making AYP will include additional sanctions and possible consequences related to the Federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) Grant.

Further, schools that do not make AYP cannot be designated as a Blue Ribbon School by the Federal government. In the past, Commack schools have been designated as such.

How do the State test results impact teacher and principal ratings?

In accordance with Education Law §3012-c, the results of the Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics tests are one of multiple measures included in teacher and principal evaluations. Under the current APPR laws, the 2015 ELA and Mathematics State test results will account for 20% of the annual evaluation for teachers and principals of grades 3-8 ELA and/or Mathematics.  Recently, there has been controversy surrounding a portion of the Governor Cuomo’s Opportunity Agenda, which would base 50% of a teacher’s evaluation on State tests.


"Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Student Participation in Grades 3-8 New York State Tests Parent Guide." New York City Department of Education. NYCDOE, 6 Mar. 2015. Web. 11 Mar. 2015. 

Guidance on New York State’s Annual Professional Performance Review for Teachers and Principals to Implement Education Law §3012-c and the Commissioner’s Regulation." EngageNY. New York State Education Department, 11 Feb. 2015. Web.

Katz, Steven E. "Information on Student Participation in State Assessments." New York State Education Department. Office of State Assessment, Jan. 2013. Web.

Schwartz, Ira. "ESEA Flexibility Request." New York State Education Department. Office of Accountability, 21 May 2012. Web.

Wagner, Ken. "2014–15 Elementary- and Intermediate-level Testing Schedule." New York State Education Department. Office of Curriculum, Assessment and Educational Technology, Apr. 2014. Web.

[1] Information was gathered through NYSED documentation and conversation with NYSED officials in February 2015.

[1] According to the January 2013 memo from NYSED, “there is no provision in statute or regulation allowing parents to opt their children out of State tests.”

[1] The letter must include your child’s name, grade, homeroom (if applicable), which State test(s) are being refused, date, and original parent/legal guardian signature.