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August 6, 2014
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JP O'Hare

(518) 474-1201



State Releases 50% of Questions from 2014 Grades 3 - 8 Assessments

Questions illustrate the breadth and depth of
standards measured by NYS tests

The New York State Education Department today released approximately 50 percent of the questions used on the 2014 Grades 3 - 8 assessments ( a 100 percent increase in the number released for the 2013 tests). The released questions will help students, families, educators, and the public understand the breadth and depth with which the state tests measure college and career readiness.

The released questions represent a range of difficulty and illustrate how student performance is assessed in accordance with the learning expectations and instructional shifts established by the New York State Common Core Learning Standards.  Released questions can help inform classroom instruction and local assessment practices.

The released items are posted here:  

For each released multiple-choice question, explanations are provided, detailing how the question measures the intended learning standard and why the right answer is correct and why wrong answers are incorrect. For constructed response questions, several examples of student work are provided, with explanations of why the responses received the scores they did.  

"New York State students and their teachers are rising to the challenge," said Regents Chancellor Merryl H. Tisch.  "Educators can use this information together with student work from throughout the school year to help understand whether their instruction, assignments and classroom assessments reflect the rigor and depth of our learning standards and our statewide assessments."

"The test questions we are releasing today, coupled with item level data analysis and instructional reports made available in July, are important components of a comprehensive approach to instructional planning and professional development," said   Education Commissioner John B. King, Jr.  "We've listened to New York State educators make the case that having more test questions available would benefit our kids so we've doubled the number and provided a thorough explanation for every student response."  

The 3-8 assessments are only one indicator among multiple measures of student performance and are intended to be used in conjunction with other tools to gauge student performance, educator effectiveness and school accountability. All Regional Information Centers (RICs) offer reports that allow educators to see the percentage of students that answered each test question correctly and (for released test questions) the percentage of students who selected each incorrect response.

This year, NYSED requested additional funding in the New York State Budget to increase the number of test forms – because more test forms would enable the Department to release more test questions and eliminate stand-alone multiple choice field tests. The request was not funded in this year’s budget.

The federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) requires that states annually administer tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics in grades 3 – 8 and high school. The 2014 Grades 3–8 Common Core ELA and Mathematics New York State Testing Program (NYSTP) has been designed to measure student knowledge and skills as defined by grade-level New York state standards in ELA and Mathematics. 

A wide range of resources are available to parents and educators on State Assessments:

Performance Level Descriptions for 3-8 ELA and Math Tests that describe the knowledge and skills students should display at each performance level:

Suggested analyses for 3-8 ELA and Math Tests that support student learning:

Test Guides for each grade and subject that contain specific details about the number of questions on each test, which standards are measured on each test, and how students will be graded on their performance:

Item and passage selection criteria for the 3-8 Assessments:

At the high school level new Regents exams aligned to the NYS Common Core learning standards are being phased in and the complete exams were posted in June.

The Common Core Regents Exam in ELA (including annotated questions) is posted at:

The Common Core Regents Exam in Algebra I (including annotated questions) is posted at:




New York State Educators Response to the Release of Items from

2014 Grades 3 - 8 Assessments

“The data and resources shared by the Education Department are rich, and will help teachers make instructional adjustments to ensure better student learning of the Common Core standards in the upcoming school year. Teacher teams will be able to analyze data and test questions, along with the annotations, to work towards the key higher order thinking skills expected of students and revise or develop plans to facilitate better student mastery of them.”

Robert Mackey, Superintendent, Unadilla Valley Central School District

“The release of 50% of the Grade 3-8 test questions and the instructional reports will undoubtedly help the Poughkeepsie City School District as our educational leaders at every level, from superintendent to principal to teacher and school teams, continue to systematically assess our instructional strengths and challenges.  These data and resources will enable a better and more focused approach to meaningful, results-driven professional learning opportunities and increased student success.”

Nicole Williams, Superintendent, Poughkeepsie City School District

"The release of specific assessment items provides educators with the ability to analyze student performance, curriculum adjustments, and instructional approaches in a far better context as we continue to calibrate our work with students to meet increased rigor and expectations. We look forward to using these newly released items to further understand the complex changes needed within our classrooms to better prepare our students to be College & Career Ready."

Matthew Cole, Superintendent, Livonia Central School District

"The Department's release of the instructional reports and 50% of the 3-8 Grade exam questions helps to provide our school district with targeted information that we need to best inform instructional practice and meet the learning needs of our students.  This is one of multiple measures and resources we use to reflect on our progress towards doing our mission and achieving our vision."

Luvelle Brown, Superintendent, Ithaca City School District

Video: Additional Feedback

Educators from Saratoga, Washington and Westchester Counties describe the value of the data and how they'll use it to inform instructional decisions.