message from Central on opting out of state tests & promotional policies
Below is a message sent to principals from the networks last week, that originated at Central, and was forwarded to me by someone preferring to remain anonymous:
Here is a toolkit of opt out parent resources on the NYSAPE website http://www.nysape.org/refusing-the-test-resources.html
Re the real lack of consequences for a school where more than 5% opt out – and thus fails to make AYP – see this: http://www.nysape.org/if-my-child-refuses-state-tests-will-my-school-lose-funding.html
Here is the message from DOE:
The Opt Out FAQs are being updated and will be released next week. Here are some points to address the concerns below.
There is no formal provision to allow students to “opt out” of the state tests. The federal NCLB Act requires state tests to be administered in ELA and math in grades 3-8, and science at least once in grades 3-5 and 6-9. Thus, in accordance with these requirements, students in grades 3-8 take assessments administered for their grade level.
If a student is absent, the school will administer the test during the make-up period.
If a student is also absent during the makeup period, they won’t be tested.
If the student refuses to take the test, schools will make every effort to engage them in a meaningful activity (ie – reading).
If parents are planning to have their child(ren) refuse to take the test, they are to discuss this with you prior to the exam period. It will help in the planning process and not put a child in the middle of the situation (having to refuse on the day of the test).
If a child doesn’t take the test:
-Promotion impact: the promotion policy is under review; we are working on an adjustment to the policy that would de-emphasize the role of standardized tests in promotion decisions. More information will be shared within the next couple of weeks.
-School enrollment impact: some schools use state test results as a factor in enrollment decisions. This doesn’t preclude those students without test results from applying to these middle and high schools, but it doesn’t provide the selecting schools with the same access to information on the child’s performance as other students.
-School accountability: participation rates may be impacted. NCLB dictates that all districts/schools must have at least 95% participation on state tests in order to meet Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). According to NCLB, any district/school that does not reach the 95% participation is considered a district/school that “failed to make AYP.”
-Principal and teacher evaluations: Per state law, state test scores will be used for teacher and principal evaluation this year throughout New York State. If a particular student doesn’t take the test for whatever reason, that student's score won't be incorporated into his/her teachers' / principals' growth scores.