Refusing the Test: A Family Decision

As you are aware, NYS school districts are required to administer state exams in ELA and math for grades 3-8 and science for grades 4 and 8 in order to be in compliance with the federal “No Child Left Behind Act” and the NYS Education Dept. Commissioner’s Regulations.

What you may not know is that you have the “right to refuse” to have your child participate in the exams. Teachers who are also parents, while having to make the decision as to what is best for their child, recognize your choice as a parent. It is also important to know that there is no penalty to your child, his/her teacher or his/her school.

Should you choose to refuse the test you must submit a letter to your principal that includes the following information: 

  • Your child’s name, grade and teacher’s name
  • The specific examination(s) for which your child will not participate in taking.
    EXAMPLE: (My child __________, under my guardian and advice, will be scored as a “refusal”, with a final score of “999” and a standard achieved code of “96”, on all state testing including ELA, Math and Science as described in the 2014/2015 NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual version 10.2 on page 63.)

Please keep in mind that although you may refuse to have your child take the NYS standardized test(s), Regents Exams are required in order to graduate and should therefore not be included in the refusal letter.

Students who have refused to take the test should plan to attend school and will be sent to an alternate location to read silently or complete other grade level, skill-based activities.

For further information the Westchester East Putnam PTA and the Lakeland Federation of Teachers is recommending the following link as an additional resource:

We support a parent’s right to refuse the state standardized test(s) if a parent believes that this is the best choice for his/her child.

We hope this information helps you to form your own decision regarding your child’s educational experience.

The Lakeland Federation of Teachers is a union representing the teachers, nurses, and therapists in Westchester County’s largest suburban school district

Refusing the Test: A Family Decision

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