Professional Development, New York State Certification
November 28, 2016

Fact Sheet 16-14: NYS Teacher Certification Examinations and Exam Safety Nets

Source: NYSUT Research and Educational Services

Updates and replaces Fact Sheet 13-3
November 2016

Table of Contents

As part of its Race to the Top application, the State Education Department committed to redesigning the examinations required for initial teacher and school building leader certification in NYS.  This fact sheet provides a summary of changes impacting individuals applying for an initial teaching certificate on or after May 1, 2014. The table below indicates the examinations required for individuals pursuing their first teaching certificate.   Visit for required examinations by teacher certification title and for school building leader certification.

Initial Teacher Certification Examinations

(Certification Applications
Prior to May 2014)

(Certification Applications
on or after May 1, 2014)

Assessment of Teaching Skills - Written (ATS-W)

Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA)

Educating all Students (EAS)

Liberal Arts and Sciences Test (LAST)

Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST)

Content Specialty Test (CST)


Content Specialty Tests (CST) (Revised, as they become available)

Description of Certification Examinations

Performance Assessment (edTPA):  The Teacher Performance Assessment (edTPA) is designed to be a portfolio-based assessment for pre-service teacher candidates, i.e., those individuals seeking their first New York State teaching certificate.  Each individual taking the edTPA will be required to complete a 20-minute classroom video teaching K-12 students and provide a narrative for the video that addresses targeted competency areas such as assessment, instruction, and academic language.

Educating All Students (EAS): This examination is designed to assess if an individual possesses the professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills to teach all students (including students with disabilities and English language learners) effectively in New York state public schools. The EAS will test knowledge of how to use research-validated instructional strategies, knowledge of legal, ethical, and professional responsibilities in educational settings, and the importance of parent/guardian involvement in a child’s education.

Academic Literacy Skills Test (ALST):  This examination is designed to assess if an individual possesses the academic literacy skills necessary to teach effectively in New York state public schools.  The ALST will test knowledge of proficient, close, and critical reading of informational and literary texts; the ability to use evidence from text and to demonstrate cogent reasoning to analyze and synthesize ideas, and the ability to produce complex and nuanced writing for a given task, purpose, and audience.      

Content Specialty Tests (CST): The revised Content Specialty Tests focus on knowledge of the NYS Learning Standards associated with the candidate's subject-specific teaching certificate, as well as the P-12 Common Core Learning Standards in English Language Arts and Literacy and Mathematics.

Impact on Currently Certified Members

Currently certified teachers applying for additional certificates after May 1, 2014 are required to pass the revised Content Specialty Test (if available) associated with the teacher/ leadership certificate sought

Please visit to determine when specific subject area CSTs are scheduled to be implemented.  

Safety Nets for NYS Certification Examinations

Due to concerns regarding the rushed implementation of the new exams and design concerns with the exams themselves, SED created safety nets for the new exams.  These safety nets have been implemented piecemeal for specific exams and for specific time periods.  For current information on what safety net is available for specific certification examinations and when the safety nets are due to expire, visit SED’s website

Members may take advantage of multiple safety nets in order to meet the requirements for certification.  If a member has met all requirements for certification by the applicable deadline, except the use of one or more the safety nets, and the certificate has not been issued, members can contact SED at  The e-mail should include the member’s first and last name, date of birth, the last four digits of the social security number and a clear statement of the specific safety net the member wants applied.

Considerations for NYSUT locals

  • NYS colleges and universities offering teacher preparation programs will continue to need placements for their students to fulfill field experience and student teaching requirements.

  • Local leaders and school administrators may wish to consider how the placement of candidates from teacher preparation programs could be used to positively support a teacher’s performance.

  • Evidence of effective coaching or mentoring of student teachers can be used to assess a teacher’s performance under NYS Teaching Standards, Standard VI: Professional Responsibilities and Collaboration (See Guidance on New York State’s Annual Professional Performance Review for Teachers and Principals to Implement Education Law 3012-c and the Commissioner’s Regulations – H11).

  • The video component of the edTPA examination comes with legal considerations, such as permission to videotape K-12 students.  While SED has provided some guidance on this issue (see, locals may consider the implications if permission is not granted by any students and how to effectively accommodate those students during videotaping.

Additional Resources