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White Plains Public Schools

Mr. Timothy P. Connors
Interim Superintendent of Schools
5 Homeside Lane
White Plains, NY 10605
(914) 422-2019   Fax: (914) 422-2024


April 2015 
Dear Colleagues & Parents,

A few weeks ago our K-8 principals sent you a letter informing you of the upcoming State test dates with guidelines for the testing process. The dates are as follows:

  • ELA:    April 14, 15, and 16

  • Math: April 22, 23 and 24

I am writing you to dispel the misinformation regarding opting out of State tests. With that in mind, I did some research in order to advise our school personnel and parents on the question of students opting out of the 2015 grades 3-8 English Language Arts and Math tests. The state assessments are required by federal law to determine adequate yearly progress (AYP). The New York State Department of Education also requires all students in grades 3-8 to take these tests, with some exceptions (e.g., Medical, English Language Learners and Special Needs).


According to the NYS approved ESEA waiver from federal regulations, without 95% student participation, schools will not be able to meet AYP. The failure to meet AYP could result in us being told by the State how our Title I funds must be used.


Results of grades 3-8 ELA and Math state tests may be used for diagnostic purposes or placement decision in programs, when combined with other criteria. This practice has been followed in our school district for enrichment and advanced classes for grades 3-8 for many years. If a student does not have test scores, he/she will be missing one of the key data points for selection into these programs in grades 3-8.


Recently I emailed the New York State Education Department with some questions about students opting out of tests in grades 3-8. I’ve listed the questions below along with their answers.

  1. Are there any specific guidelines if a parent or student opts out of the test?

    The Department’s guidance to schools with regard to your questions is provided in the School Administrator’s Manual, Grades 3-8, 2015, on page 9: “All students are expected to participate in State tests as part of the core academic program. Absences from all or part of the required academic program should be managed in accordance with the attendance policies of the district. For accountability and other statewide reporting purposes, students who do not participate in an assessment are reported to the state as “not tested”.

  2. As per rumor, if a child opts out of the test does that student have to sit and stare for the full testing period?

    This is a local decision.

  3. Can the parent give us a written request that their child not take the test?

    This is a local decision.

Given the above, I have asked the principals to follow the guidelines below for the 2015 ELA and Math State tests for grades 3-8.

  • If a parent wishes their child to opt out of the State test, they should submit a written request to the principal of their school by April 10 for ELA, and by April 20 for the Math test.

  • The child should not report to school until after the testing period on the days of the test. 

If you have any questions regarding opting out of the State tests for grades 3-8, please contact your school principal.


Timothy P.Connors