Who takes this test?
Students in grade four, and most students in grade eight, take the State Assessment in Science to determine how well they have learned the New York State Learning Standards.
Students in Grade seven who have completed all of the material in the Intermediate-Level Science Core Curriculum, and who are under consideration for placement in an accelerated high school level science course in grade eight, may also take the test. If students take the test in grade seven, they will not take it again in grade eight. School principals have the discretion to either require or waive the grade eight Science Test for accelerated grade eight students who will take a Regents Examination in science at the end of the school year.
English Language Learners in grades four and eight must take the State Assessment in Science. Exams are available in 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. 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 Plan (IEP).
When is this test given?
The test is given in two parts: a written examination and laboratory performance examination. In 2020, the laboratory performance examination will be given between May 18–29. The date for the written examination is June 1 with make-up exams on June 2-3.
What is on the test?
The Assessment in Science asks students to demonstrate scientific knowledge and to apply scientific concepts, formulate hypotheses, make predictions, or use other scientific inquiry techniques. The written examination is untimed and consists of multiple-choice and short and long open-ended questions. The assessment also includes a one-hour laboratory performance examination, which tests students’ skill using hands-on equipment and materials to answer scientific questions.
How is the test scored?
Exams are scored in-school by licensed teachers. Schools are given guidance that no teacher should score their own students’ exams.
How are the results reported?
The number of correct answers a student gives on a test is converted into the student’s “scale score.” 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.
How are the results used?
State assessments are an important part of a student’s core educational program. They:
- evaluate student mastery of content and skills in various areas,
- measure the extent to which students are on track to graduate high school, and are college- and career ready, and
- help shape future instruction.
Along with student work on classroom assignments, projects, essays, and assessments, State test results give teachers information about where students are on their path toward college and careers.
The DOE uses test results to see how schools are performing and to identify areas where schools can be better supported. In addition, some DOE programs and middle and high schools use State test results as one component of decisions about admissions. Students without State test results can still apply for these programs but may need to take additional steps. These State tests will not have grade-promotion consequences for students or formal evaluation consequences for teachers or principals until at least the 2019-2020 school year. Any metrics based on these assessments will be used for developmental or formative purposes only.