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It’s almost time for New York State’s annual examinations for students in grades 3–8.

Beginning later this month, elementary and middle school students across New York State will be taking the State’s annual English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science examinations. Typically, these State exams would be administered in-person to students in physical classrooms, and this year will be no different, as the New York State Education Department is still requiring State exams to be administered in-person inside school classrooms—it will not be possible to administer State exams remotely.

In order for schools to prepare and create testing schedules that ensure the health and safety of all our students, DOE schools are reaching out to all families of City students in grades 3–8 to determine whether they would like their students to participate in this year’s State exams.

Below, you will find important information regarding this year’s State ELA, Math, and Science exams. For more information, check out the DOE’s official Testing webpage as well as our 2021 Student Participation Guide. Additionally, you may also reach out to your child’s school to learn more about your school’s testing process, deadlines, and safety procedures.

Student standing in classroom with facemask and bookbag on

Photo by Max Fischer. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Pexels.

NY State’s 2021 Testing Schedule for Elementary School Students

  • English Language Arts (ELA): April 19–29 (for students in grades 3 through 8)
  • Mathematics: May 3–12 and May 14 (for grades 3 through 8)
  • Science: June 7–11 (for grades 4 and 8)

Please note that State testing will NOT occur on May 13, when NYC schools will be closed for Eid Al-Fitr. Schools will share students’ testing dates before the start of the State’s testing window.

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

How do I sign up my student for the exams?

If you would like your child to participate in this year’s State exams, please notify your school—your school will contact you with further details about how you can have your child participate.

If you do not wish to have your child take any of the State exams, you do not have to take any further action.

If my student is already learning in-person, do I still need to sign up for the exams?

Yes. You must let your school know if you would like your student to take State exams, whether they are learning in-person or remotely.

My student is fully-remote. Are they expected to come in to take the exams?

No. Students receiving fully remote instruction are not expected to go to school to take the State exams. However, if you would like your student to take the exam, they can be included—just notify your school accordingly.

If my student does not take the exams, will they be penalized?

No. Any student who does not participate in the 2021 NYS ELA, Math, or Science exams will not be penalized.

Are the exams different this year?

Yes. 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. The tests are untimed, but most students will complete the tests in 55 to 90 minutes.

How will you keep my student safe during in-person test administration?

Health and safety are our first priorities. All schools will adhere to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Visit our Health and Safety webpage to learn more.

If I don’t sign up, what will my child do while their classmates are taking the exam?

Students receiving in-person instruction who do not take the exam will continue their instructional program, as will fully remote students.


Banner photo by March Verch Professional. Used under Creative Commons license. Original can be found on Flickr.

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019