Language Arts and Sciences Test- Writing Assessment

As part of the New York State Teachers Certification Exam, education students and other candidates must take a two tier exam.  One part involves a general liberal arts knowledge test covering topics across most college curriculum (math, history, literature, communication, science, and the arts).  The other part, and the focus of this web page, involves both reading, writing, and critical argumentation.  In other words, candidates must write an essay in which they synthesize the sides of a given issue, develop a critical assessment, and offer their own resolution or response to the issue.

Like most standardized writing exams, the essay is evaluated by readers (other teachers or college professors) who score the essay holistically; that is, the readers give a general score based on a set of criteria that usually focus on the efficacy of the essay's understanding of the issue, on the development of a coherent response, and on the production of quality prose (or sentence-level writing). Some weakness in any one area likely will not result in a non-passing result (a score below 220), but some weakness in a number of areas or great weakness in one area can doom a score.  Thus, the upshot is a winning essay indicates an understanding of the issue, signals critical awareness, and uses markers of effective writing.

For most candidates, spending between one and one half to two hours writing the essay usually ensures enough time to write the essay, to compose a sufficient amount of thought, and to edit/proofread the prose or writing.

Next to this page, we have included one possible approach to writing the essay.  It is by no means the only approach or the best approach or the perfect approach.  If you have strategies that work well for you, especially for which you receive a passing score, please pass them along to us.  We invite your comments.

For LIU students, we invite you to practice composing your essay and receive tutoring from our E-Tutoring Center.


For information regarding test registration, administration procedures, admission tickets, or score reports, contact:

National Evaluation Systems Inc.
30 Gatehouse Road
P.O. Box 660
Amherst, MA 01004-9008
(413) 256-2882

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