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Can the district opt my child out of testing?
Additional information for parents regarding state assessments

April 11, 2013—Beginning next week, Guilderland students in grades 3-8 will join their peers around the state to take the NYS English Language Arts (ELA) and math exams. These tests mark a time of transition in our schools, as this is the first year they will be based on the new Common Core Learning Standards. See related letter to parents from Superintendent Wiles (PDF)

As you may know, there has been some concern among parents related to the rigor of the new tests and as a result, some are asking to opt their child out of the testing. This is not an option for school districts. Despite what you may have heard, neither New York State law nor the education commissioner’s regulations provide any legal right or mechanism for students—or districts—to opt out of required state assessments, except for certain exceptions such as those involving students with disabilities. All students present at school on a state testing day are required to sit for the assessment. If a student is absent on a testing day, he or she will still have to sit for the examination on one of the pre-established make up dates of testing.

There are significant implications for school districts when students are not in attendance for such required state testing. If participation rates for a school fall below 95 percent of eligible students, districts may not make “Adequate Yearly Progress” (AYP) in the state’s accountability system and could lose federal Title I funding—taking resources away from the school district. If a school or district does not make AYP it may also be subject to additional state mandated reform efforts, leading to an even greater loss of local control for public education.

While we as a district encourage and support advocacy, choosing to opt your child out of the upcoming ELA and math assessments will only hurt the district and may negatively impact our students and teachers. Opting out is not advocating for change. If you want to let your voice be heard and make a real difference for the NYS testing structure, we encourage you to instead contact your local elected officials, the governor, and the New York State Department of Education with your concerns.

Learn how to contact your elected officials

Send an e-mail to NYS Education Commissioner John King or visit the NYSED Facebook page