Beginning in the 2012-2013 school year, the New York State Department of Instruction implemented new assessments designed to be aligned with the Common Core State Standards. The new standards for proficiency in these subjects are higher than in previous years and the percent of students earning a proficient score is expected to be lower as a result of this change. See this letter
from New York's Commissioner of Education for more information on these changes. In 2014-2015 New York used the New York State Assessments to test students in grades 3 through 8 in English language arts and math, and in grades 4 and 8 in Science. At present 2014-15 results are available only for English language arts and math. The tests are standards-based, which means they measure how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of New York. The goal is for 90% of students to meet or exceed grade-level standards on the tests.