Testing Information

Ravena-Coeymans-Selkirk students take a number of tests and exams every year – including local exams and assessments, New York state tests, Regents exams and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

While students are given opportunities to become familiar with the format of most of these tests, the school year is not spent specifically preparing for these exams. Instead, the primary focus is on challenging students to reach their full potential through knowledge in many subject areas and disciplines such as listening, reading, writing and math and encouraging students to become critical thinkers.

In recent years, there has been considerable controversy surrounding state tests and testing in general. Parents have questioned whether the length of state tests and the questions themselves were developmentally appropriate.

In 2016 changes to the tests were made by the New York State Education Department (NYSED):

  • The English language arts (ELA) and math state assessments for students in grades 3-8 were shortened,
  • State Education moved away from Pearson, the London-based testing company that has created NYS tests for five years, and awarded a five-year contract to Questar Assessment, a smaller company based in Minneapolis, Minnesota,
  • The move to Questar could mean test will eventually be computer-based, and
  • A commitment to increase teacher involvement in developing and reviewing state tests.

Download fact sheet on upcoming changes to the Grades 3-8 NYS exams in ELA and math.

NYSED offers the following resources for parents:

Tests by grade level

New York State Tests (grades 3-8): Each year, districts are required to administer tests – also called assessments – in English language arts (ELA) and math to students in grades 3-8. Fourth- and eighth-graders also take state exams in science and social studies.

Testing in English language arts — which includes reading, writing and listening skills — and math for each of the elementary grades is designed to show whether children have a firm grasp on the skills they will need to succeed as they move toward middle school, high school and beyond. These tests also help teachers identify where the curriculum might need to be fine-tuned to better meet students’ needs.

New York State Science Performance Test and Science Written section: Students in grades 4 and 8 take state science tests to determine student progress toward New York State standards in science.

New York State Regents Exams (high school): Regents exams are standardized examinations in core high school subjects given to students in New York state. Students are required to pass a minimum of five New York State Regents Exams to graduate (in addition to class credit requirements). There are additional courses and exam requirements for an Advanced Regents Diploma. For more information, please visit High School Graduation Requirements.

Advanced Placement exams (high school): AP exams are administered as the culmination of a year-long Advanced Placement Course. AP exams are taken in May of the year students take the course. They are graded on a scale of 1–5, and most colleges require a minimum of a 3 on the exam to award college credit. The exams cost approximately $90.

Classroom tests: Students take tests at various times to assess where a student is with regard to learning content in a particular subject area. The information gathered from these assessments helps a classroom teacher understand what a student has or has not learned of the material presented up to that point. Results can be used to provide extra support to a student or to tweak lessons.

Helping your child with testing

It’s normal for students to feel a certain level of anxiety around any exams. Leading up to the tests, parents should do what they have always done: Encourage your children to stay calm, take their time, review their work carefully, and do their best.