Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Testing

March 21, 2018
Dear Parent or Guardian,

In a few weeks, the New York State Grades 3-8 English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics Tests will be administered to students. Beginning this year, the number of test sessions for these annual assessments will be reduced from three days to two days. Additionally, like the 2016 and 2017 tests, the 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests will continue to be untimed. The ELA will be given on two consecutive school days of your school’s choosing between April 11 – April 13, and the math on two consecutive school days of your school’s choosing between
May 1 – May 3. (Please note these dates are for the paper-based assessments. If your district is participating in computer-based testing for the operational exams, the timeline is different.) Below you will find a summary of the changes that were made to the 2018 Grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Mathematics Tests.

• Two testing days per subject. The 2018 Grades 3–8 ELA and Math Tests have been reduced from three test sessions per subject to only two sessions per subject this year, meaning each subject will have two days of testing instead of three. With fewer test sessions, each test will have fewer questions than in recent years, lessening test fatigue for students and better enabling them to demonstrate what they know and are able to do.

• The tests continue to be untimed so students who are still working on their exams will be allowed to continue to work, within the confines of the regular school day. Students who finish may be permitted to hand in their test materials (or submit the test if testing on computer) and leave the room. If so, students should exit quietly so they do not disturb any students still working.

• Test questions reviewed and written by New York State Teachers. Hundreds of New York State educators were involved in creating and reviewing questions for 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests and selecting the questions for the test forms. This year, the assessments will also feature many test questions written by New York State teachers specifically for the annual New York State tests. The future goal is for all test questions to be written by NYS educators.

Teacher and Principal Evaluation/APPR

• Student performance on the 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Mathematics Tests will have no employment-related consequences for teacher and principal evaluations. In December 2015, the Board of Regents approved a moratorium on using student scores on these exams for educators’ consequential evaluation scores. This means no teachers or principals in New York State public schools will be affected by the results of the 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests.

Release of Test Questions and Instructional Reports

• Test questions and instructional reports will be released before the end of the school year. Like last year, the State Education Department will release 75-percent of questions from the 2018 tests and the instructional reports for educators on or around June 1. You can view 2017 test questions ( on EngageNY.

Computer-Based Testing

• Computer-based State assessments. Some districts chose to administer the 2018 Grades 3-8 ELA and Math Tests on the computer. The computer-based test will have the same questions as the paper version but students will take the test on a computer, tablet, or Chromebook. Fort Edward will be administering computer-based tests to students in grades 3 and 4. Additionally, computer-based field tests will be administered to students in grade 7 as required by the NYSED.

• Stronger instructional tools. The State Education Department is helping districts begin to transition to computer-based testing (CBT), which has the potential to make the assessments stronger instructional tools and will make it possible to get test results back sooner.

• The move to CBT. The State plans to have additional districts utilize CBT next year. The long-term plan is to have all districts using CBT for annual state tests. You can find more information about the State tests ( on the State Education Department’s website.

Thank you for your time.

Daniel A. Ward