25% of 3rd – 8th Graders Opting Out of State Testing

It seems like testing never ends for students in all grade levels, whether mandated by the state or otherwise and Saranac Lake Superintendent Diane Fox says the number of students who opted out of the English Language Arts test in grades 3 through 8 was 90 out of 600.. Interestingly she says, ELA comes first and by the time we had the math testing, there were 140 students who opted out of the testing

 AUDIO – 060514 – One Quarter of Students in Saranac Lake Opting Out of Statewide Testing

A statewide report is due out shortly which will highlight the number of students who opted out and provide percentages throughout the state.. Plattsburgh is another district, Fox says, which has a larger component of students whose parents chose to have them opt out of the testing.. Once the report becomes public, Fox added, we’ll be able to get a better idea of whether Saranac Lake and Plattsburgh are unique in these numbers, or whether parents across the state are feeling the same as the North Country..

One of the issues school districts deal with when it comes to working with parents who request that their children opt out of testing is the fact that the state doesn’t provide any guidance for this scenario..

About a quarter of students in grades 3 through 8 are opting out of testing in Saranac Lake.. and Fox says they gave students the quote unquote “Opportunity” on the first day… “They have to go into the testing room,” Fox tells the School Board, “The teachers know which child is bringing a note from their parents who are requesting they opt out of the test. That child is then ‘Given the Opportunity’ and then goes to the library during the testing.”

One interesting implication of the larger percentage of students opting out is that overall scores tend to be lower which in some cases will qualify school districts for the Focus School status which by it’s very nature means that the state has to give that school more money to help it improve.. New York state has been backpeddling on this issue saying if your participation levels are too low, they’re going to hold off on the Focus School approach for at least one year and in the case of State Ed, this is clearly a financial decision to avoid providing more incentive for parents to have their children opt out of State Testing at the lower grade levels..

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