New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE)

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The New York State Teacher Certification Examinations (NYSTCE) began development in 1991[1] and was implemented in 1993[2] as an assessment for teaching certification candidates. Unlike the generic teaching certification praxis examinations used by most states, the NYSTCE assessment suite was designed as a custom examination to meet the needs and specifications of the state of New York. The development of the examinations included defining the skills to be measured based on New York State legislation, regulations, and curricula; conducting a job analysis survey of experienced educators across several fields to identify the skills and competencies most crucial for a new teacher; developing custom assessment materials; and conducting extensive item analysis and validation, including by a Bias Review Committee which identified potential bias issues in the assessment materials.[1]

Since the 1993 introduction of the first NYSTE examinations, the assessment program has been regularly updated and overhauled. The most recent major change occurred on May 1, 2014. Candidates who applied for teaching certification prior to May 1 were required to pass three types of assessments: Assessment of Teaching Skills—Written (ATS–W); Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST); and Current Content Specialty Tests (CST). Candidates who have applied for teaching certification since May 1, 2014 have been required to pass four types of assessments: edTPA (a portfolio-based performance assessment); Educating All Students Test (EAS); Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST); and Content Specialty Tests (CST).[3] According to the Board of Regents, more than 20 Content Specialty Tests will be updated between Fall 2015 and Fall 2017.[3]

Function of the Test

NYSTCE Study Guide

The NYSTE examinations are teacher certification examinations administered to prospective teachers in the state of New York. Typical candidates have completed an educator preparation program and are seeking state licensure to teach. The New York State Education Department does not appear to publish statistics regarding the number of candidates who take each examination per year or what scores those candidates achieve. However, every assessment except the edTPA is scored on one of two scoring scales: a scale from 400 to 600 with a passing score of 520, or a scale from 100 to 300 with a passing score of 220.[4]

Test Administration

NYSTCE Flashcards

The edTPA is a portfolio-based assessment which candidates submit via the edTPA website. The assessment fee is $300. Unsuccessful candidates may submit a full retake for $300 or a single-task retake for $100.[5]

The ALST is a computer-based test which comprises 40 multiple-choice questions, two focused-response items, and one extended-response item. The time limit is 210 minutes. The exam fee is $131, and exam appointments are available year-round at Pearson testing centers. Candidates receive score reports approximately 3-5 weeks following the test date. The passing score is 520.[6]

The EAS exam is a computer-based test which comprises 40 selected-response items and three constructed-response items. The time limit is 135 minutes. The exam fee is $102, and exam appointments are available year-round at Pearson testing centers. Candidates receive score reports approximately 3-5 weeks following the test date. The passing score is 520.[6]

The Content Specialty Tests (CST) vary greatly in terms of exam fees, lengths, time limits, exam dates, and score reporting. For example, the French exam is a four-hour assessment which includes multiple-choice, written, and oral questions; it is offered on only four dates per year; and the fee is $79.[7] By contrast, the Mathematics CST has a time limit of 210 minutes, is offered year-round, and has a test fee of $149.[8] To provide one more example, the Secondary Teachers (Grade 7-Grade 12) multi-subject CST is divided into three smaller exams, has a total time limit of 315 minutes, is available year-round, and costs $179.[9]

Candidates with disabilities who require special testing accommodations may contact Pearson to request appropriate accommodations. The application process involves completing an accommodation request form and submitting documentation of the disability.[10]

Test Format

Test Structure

The NYSTCE series has over 50 content-specific exams to certify those who desire to teach in the state of New York. The amount of questions on each test as well as the amount of time allowed to take them varies, but, generally speaking, the tests will contain around 90 multiple choice questions. The time to take them ranges from about three hours to four and a half hours.[11]

Test Environment

Testing for NYSTCE tests take place at Pearson Testing Centers. Most of the tests are computer-based. Candidates are expected to arrive at the testing center at least half an hour before the test is scheduled to begin. A valid, government-issued, photo identification that contains a signature is required for admission. No personal items are allowed into the testing room. This includes cell phones, hats, bags, food, and unauthorized testing aids. All personal items must be stored in a locker provided by the testing center.[12]

Test Content

  • Sample Assessment of Teaching Skills (095) Test Practice Questions
  1. The average of six numbers is 4. If the average of two of those numbers is 2, what is the average of the other four numbers?
    A. 5
    B. 6
    C. 7
    D. 4
  2. Three eighths of forty equals:
    A. 15
    B. 20
    C. 22
    D. 24
  • Sample NYSTCE School Building Leader Test Practice Questions
  1. Over the past three years, there has been a thirty percent rise in the number of immigrant students. How can Ms. Rose best determine if the needs of these students are being met?
    A. By examining the number of students who participate in extracurricular activities such as drama, band, and so forth.
    B. By examining the number of immigrant students in special education.
    C. By examining the number of students who participate in sports.
    D. By examining the attrition rate of all students.
  2. Additionally, what is another factor Ms. Rose should examine to see if all students' needs are being met?
    A. The number of parents who attend Parents' Night or conferences.
    B. The number of these students in the English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program.
    C. The number of teachers who attend professional development programs.
    D. The number of paraprofessionals placed in each room.
  • Sample NYSTCE Academic Literacy Skills Test Practice Questions
  1. The tourists tried to make the best of things despite the _______ weather.
    A. ugly
    B. inclement
    C. balmy
    D. insipid
  2. Evan felt that he was always being ______ for things that were not his fault.
    A. castigated
    B. lauded
    C. interrogated
    D. rescinded
  • Sample NYSTCE Students With Disabilities Practice Questions
  1. Which of the following best describes Down syndrome?
    A. Gland malfunction
    B. Dominant-gene transmission
    C. Congenital deformity
    D. Chromosomal difference
  2. What is Piaget's phrase for the strict and unwavering adherence to a rule?
    A. Ethical idealism
    B. Naturism
    C. Moral realism
    D. Constructivism

More free NYSTCE practice test questions.

Answers to Sample Questions

Assessment of Teaching Skills: 1;A 2;A School Building Leader: 1;B 2;B Academic Literacy Skills: 1;D 2;D Students with Disabilities: 1;D 2;C


  1. ^ a b Pearson - NYSTCE Testing Program Design and Development Procedures April 21 2015
  2. ^ Lankford et al. - The Labor Market for Public School Teachers: A Descriptive Analysis of New York State's Teacher Workforce April 21 2015
  3. ^ a b NESINC - NYSTCE Testing Program Update April 21 2015
  4. ^ NESINC - NYSTCE Passing Requirements April 21 2015
  5. ^ edTPA - Frequently Asked Questions for Candidates April 21 2015
  6. ^ a b NESINC - Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST) April 21 2015
  7. ^ NESINC - French April 21 2015
  8. ^ NESINC - Mathematics CST April 21 2015
  9. ^ NESINC - Secondary Teachers (Grade 7–Grade 12) April 21 2015
  10. ^ NESINC - NYSTCE Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form April 21 2015
  11. ^ NYSTCE Test Selection 28 April 2015
  12. ^ Testing Site Rules 28 April 2015

External Links