While there were very small improvements in the test last year, this year there will be no changes in the NY State test this year (same number and types of questions, and same time expectations). In the fourth year of NY State standardized testing for grades 3-8, there are still good reasons not to take these tests. Last year in NY state about 22% of eligible students opted out of state testing (up 2%). Here are some reasons to take a stand:
- The tests are too long. There are 6 hours of estimated testing time over the course of 6 days (for 3rd and 4th grade students without an IEP), which takes up too much learning time. It is estimated to take over 7 hours for 5th graders without and IEP. Students with IEPs are expected to test for up to twice as long. All students may take as long as they need.
- The test results arrive in the summer, too late to be useful for direct instruction.
- Resources used for testing purposes would be better used for other things such as more creative and inspiring learning or educational supports.
- English Language Learners are given the tests after 1 year of instruction.
There will not be penalties for refusing the tests:
- Students will have activities at school while testing is happening.
- Middle schools have alternative criteria for admissions if a student did not take the test, such as more emphasis on grades and attendance. Please see the Brooklyn New School’s Parent Action Committee report on each potential middle school from 2016: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BxOOEY_hcfA2QnZSZzhtMkxVRW8/view.
- Schools will not lose funding.
You can also refuse one test and not the other (eg. take the ELA and not Math or vice versa). And, even though you can refuse on the day of the test, it would be very helpful to school administration for planning to get your letter refusing testing in as soon as you can (by 3/24). Letters must be signed and not emailed.
If you are intrested – here are some sample tests:
For more information about opting out see Change the Stakes.
Feel free to copy and adapt this Opt out/refusal letter.
If you are interested in the Parent Advocacy Committee, please email to join. It would be great to organize around proposed legislation for education and more. firstname.lastname@example.org