Accountability News in Brief

New York’s Student Opt-Out Rate for Testing Hits 20 Percent

By Andrew Ujifusa — August 18, 2015 1 min read

Twenty percent of students in New York state in grades 3-8 who were eligible to take statewide tests in reading and math for the 2014-15 school year did not do so, according to data released by the state education department last week.

It’s the third year that New York state students have taken tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards. And scores didn’t change dramatically from last year to this year.

Overall statewide percentages of students who attained proficiency in 2014-15 were 31.3 percent on the reading exam and 38.1 percent in math. The math-proficiency rate rose by just under 2 percentage points from the 2013-14 rate; in reading, the proficiency rate rose by less than a percentage point.

The push by parents, the New York State United Teachers, and other groups for parents to opt their children out of the tests has been the subject of intense interest and media scrutiny for months.

According to demographic information from the department, those who did not have a “recognized, valid reason” for not taking the exams were: more likely to be white; more likely not to have achieved proficiency on last year’s exams; less likely to be economically disadvantaged; less likely to come from districts serving relatively large numbers of poor students; and less likely to be an English-language learner.

“Without an annual testing program, the progress of our neediest students may be ignored or forgotten, leaving these students to fall further behind. This cannot happen,” New York Board of Regents Chancellor Merryl Tisch said in a statement regarding the opt-out numbers.

Tisch has previously warned that high opt-out rates could threaten the validity of the state’s common-core tests and “force” the state into using another test. But it’s not immediately clear what policy impact the opt-out rate will have in New York.

A version of this article appeared in the August 19, 2015 edition of Education Week as New York’s Student Opt-Out Rate for Testing Hits 20 Percent


This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Equity & Diversity Webinar
Culturally Relevant Pedagogy to Advance Educational Equity
Schools are welcoming students back into buildings for full-time in-person instruction in a few short weeks and now is the perfect time to take a hard look at both our practices and systems to build
Content provided by PowerMyLearning
Classroom Technology Webinar Making Big Technology Decisions: Advice for District Leaders, Principals, and Teachers
Educators at all levels make decisions that can have a huge impact on students. That’s especially true when it comes to the use of technology, which was activated like never before to help students learn
Professional Development Webinar Expand Digital Learning by Expanding Teacher Training
This discussion will examine how things have changed and offer guidance on smart, cost-effective ways to expand digital learning efforts and train teachers to maximize the use of new technologies for learning.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Accountability Opinion Absenteeism Is the Wrong Student Engagement Metric to Use Right Now
In a post-pandemic era for school accountability, let’s focus on measuring what matters.
Sara Johnson, Annette Anderson & Ruth R. Faden
4 min read
Figure being erased.
Accountability Biden Education Team Squashes States' Push to Nix All Tests but Approves Other Flexibility
The department has telegraphed its decision to deny states' requests to cancel federally mandated tests for weeks.
3 min read
A first-grader learns keyboarding skills at Bayview Elementary School in San Pablo, Calif on March 12, 2015. Schools around the country are teaching students as young as 6 years old, basic typing and other keyboarding skills. The Common Core education standards adopted by a majority of states call for students to be able to use technology to research, write and give oral presentations, but the imperative for educators arrived with the introduction of standardized tests that are taken on computers instead of with paper and pencils.
The U.S. Department of Education denied some states' requests to cancel standardized tests this year. Others are seeking flexibility from some testing requirements, rather than skipping the assessments altogether.
Eric Risberg/AP
Accountability Explainer Will There Be Standardized Tests This Year? 8 Questions Answered
Educators want to know: Will the exams happen? If so, what will they look like, and how will the results be used?
12 min read
Students testing.
Accountability Opinion What Should School Accountability Look Like in a Time of COVID-19?
Remote learning is not like in person, and after nine months of it, data are revealing how harmful COVID-19 has been to children's learning.
6 min read
Image shows a speech bubble divided into 4 overlapping, connecting parts.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty and Laura Baker/Education Week