Tests for English Language Learners

Students who are unable to understand the math and science 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. Students who have been in the United States for less than one year are not required to take the New York State English Language Arts test in their grade, but must start taking English Language Arts tests after their first year.

NY State Identification Test for English Language Learners 

Who takes this test?

New students who speak languages other than English at home take the New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners. The New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners tests students’ English language skills and determines if they are an English language learner and entitled to supports and services to learn English.

When is this test given?

Students take the  New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners within their first ten days of school in NY State.

What is on the test?

The  New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners includes multiple choice, short written response, long written response, and oral response questions in listening, speaking, reading, and writing.

How is the test scored?

The New York State Identification Test for English Language Learners is administered and scored by a qualified NY State educator.

How are the results reported?

The school in which your child is enrolled will mail a parent notification letter that will indicate the score and any additional actions that you need to take. If your child is identified as an English Language Learner, you will be asked to attend an orientation session at which you will learn about English Language Learners programs and services that are available for your child.

How are the results used?

Educators use the results of the test to determine if your child is an English Language Learner.

NY State English as a Second Language Achievement Test

Who takes this test?

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test is given to all students who are identified as English Language Learners. The purpose of the test is to determine how well they are learning English. All English Language Learners in kindergarten through grade 12 take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test every year.

Students who receive English as a second language assistance take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test to determine how well they are learning English. All students in kindergarten through grade 12 who receive English as a New Language services take the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test every year.

When is this test given?

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test is given every spring. In 2019, the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test will be given between April 8 and May 17. Schools can test eligible students any time during this period.

What is on the test?

The New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test has five levels:

  • Kindergarten – Grade 1
  • Grade 2−4
  • Grade 5−6
  • Grade 7−8
  • Grade 9−12

It tests students' speaking, listening, reading, and writing skills defined by New York State English as a Second Language Learning Standards.

  • The speaking section is administered individually and asks students to respond to a word or statement read aloud or to a picture.
  • The other sections can be administered to students in a group:
    • The reading section asks students to answer questions about stories printed in their test books.
    • The writing section asks students to write in response to questions and prompts in their test books.
    • The listening section asks students to select the correct response to a picture and/or word or statement read aloud.

How are the tests 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 results are reported in raw scores, scale scores, and performance levels. The “raw score” is the number of correct answers, which is converted to a “scale score,” to make it possible to compare scores across grade levels. Scale scores are divided into the following five performance levels that show how well students have mastered English language skills:

  • Commanding: Students function fluently in listening, reading, writing, and speaking; their skills are equal to those of native English speakers at their appropriate grade level. These students have gained the skills necessary to participate in an English-speaking classroom.
  • Expanding: Students are able to use skills at a higher level than intermediate students. Although their knowledge and use of English is at a more advanced level, they make mistakes, usually involving more subtle use of language and more difficult levels of vocabulary and grammar.
  • Transitioning: Students have better English skills than students at the basic level; however, their skills are often not well developed and they make significant errors in the four skill areas.
  • Emerging: A student at the Emerging level needs some supports and structures to improve their academic language skills.
  • Entering: Students are at the beginning level in the four skill areas. These students’ English skills are minimal.

How are the results used?

Students will continue to receive English as a New Language or bilingual services until their scores on the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test show that they have learned English well enough to participate in English-only classes. Educators also use students’ New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test scores to help decide which instructional standards to focus on, and to evaluate their programs.

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