Schools experience sharp increase in students opting out

On the first day of this school year’s state assessments, Shoreham-Wading River and Riverhead school districts both experienced a sharp increase in the number of students refusing to take the exams.

Over 68 percent of Shoreham-Wading River School District’s third through eighth-graders refused to take the English Language Arts exams. The exams last three days, and students will be tested for another three days later next week in math.

Last year, over the course of three days of ELA testing, SWR had nearly 400 students refused to take the exams, or about a third of the 1,200 students who were expected to take the assessments.

Alan Meinster, SWR School District assistant superintendent for curriculum, instruction, and assessment, said 774 students out of 1,126 students eligible to take the exam refused.

[Guest column by Dr. Steven Cohen: The folks in Albany want us all to step aside]

About 26 percent of Riverhead School District students also declined to take the assessments on Tuesday.

Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said 613 students out of 2,332 students the state expects to take the exams declined to participate.

“I believe that the significant increase is a direct response to the governor’s new legislation,” Ms. Carney said. “Specifically, his proposal of linking state assessments to 50 percent of teachers’ evaluations. I am hopeful the Regents will come up with an evaluation system that uses multiple measures to determine teacher effectiveness and student achievement.”

Last year, Riverhead schools saw 217 refusals out of 2,218 students, or 9.8 percent of students.

[Guest column by Nancy Carney: Look beyond Common Core’s testing component]

ELA assessments continue Wednesday and Thursday.

For the past few years, parents and educators statewide have protested New York’s public education system’s high-stakes testing model tied to the controversial Common Core State Standards through a movement known as “opt out.”

Check back later for an update.

[email protected]