The Lake Shore Central Board of Education discussed drafting a resolution at a recent work session that would better inform the school community about standardized testing and the right of students to opt out of testing.
Students at multiple schools began refusing to take New York State standardized tests for common core curriculum in larger than average numbers this year. Children in grades 3 through 8 undergo testing for English language arts and math; 4th graders undergo additional science and writing testing in May and June. The district had received letters from some parents who said that they were excusing their child from taking standardized tests, although Superintendent James Przepasniak stated that these letters were fielded at the building level and did not come to his attention before the tests. Some board members indicated that more students also opted out whose parents were unaware that their child could refuse to take testing. According to the board, any student has the right to refuse to take a state standardized common core test on the day that it’s administered for medical or other reasons. Letters from parents cannot be recognized as an actual refusal to take the test.
“Please don’t get the assumption that hundreds of students refused, just more than normal,” said Przepasniak. He said that more students opted out during the math assessments rather than the ELA assessments that took place the previous week. Not only do the students’ decisions affect their own standing, as these tests are used to determine placement in academic intervention services (AIS) and other classes, but they negatively impact a teacher’s annual professional performance review (APPR) that is submitted to the state’s education department.
The board said that it would work on drafting two documents to help inform the community about state standardized common core testing. One document would be designed for teachers, the other to be sent to parents, both of which describe what standardized testing does and a student’s rights to refuse taking standardized tests.