DOE Response on Opting Out of State Tests

After reports of some families receiving harsh treatment when their children declined to submit to the new and lengthier state testing regime, I asked Chief Academic Officer Shael Suransky to clarify the DOE's policy on opting out of state standardized testing.  I share his email response below:

According to No Child Left Behind, states are required to assess students each year, and New York City is required to administer these assessments. This is the general federal policy; we don’t have a version that’s specific to New York City.

However, we give schools the guidance that when students do not take the 3-8 ELA and math tests, there are 3 major implications:

·         State accountability: Under No Child Left Behind, New York State measures each school’s rate of participation in state tests. If 95% of a school or one or more of its subgroups of students (e.g. Hispanic students, students with disabilities, Limited English Proficient students) do not take the assessment, the school does not make Adequate Yearly Progress – which has funding and intervention consequences for schools.

·         Promotion: Under New York City policy, students can be promoted to the next grade if they receive a 2 or higher on the state test or if they complete a portfolio which meets standards for promotion. When schools have students without test scores, we advise them to complete a portfolio for promotion decision purposes.

·         Enrollment: Grades 3 and 4 scores are used for G&T placement in grades 4 and 5; grade 4 scores are used for placement for some middle school programs, and grade 7 scores are used for the high school admissions process. Students without test scores can still participate in these admissions processes, but they may be at a disadvantage because their applications won’t have as much information as will those of their peers.

Let me know if you’d like to discuss further or need me to intervene with a specific school that has not handled this well.
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