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High State Math Testing Opt-Out Rates Reported In Westchester Schools

Anne M. Dorner Middlle School in Ossining where nearly one-third of the school district's eligible students opted out of this week's state math tests.
Anne M. Dorner Middlle School in Ossining where nearly one-third of the school district's eligible students opted out of this week's state math tests. Photo Credit: file photo

This story has been updated.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The first "opt out" rates on this week's standardized state math tests are coming in -- and like last year -- some of them are high.

Ossining School District reported that the parents of 31 percent of its eligible students declined to let their children take this week's math tests, which began on Wednesday.

Last week, about 29 percent of Ossining's students opted out of the English Language Assessment test, according to school district officials.

In Valhalla Union Free School District, nearly one-third of its middle school students opted out of this week's state math math tests. According to Valhalla school officials, a total of 120 of 352 eligible students opted out.

Among Valhalla's third- through fifth-grade pupils, 43 of 308 eligible elementary school students opted out of math tests in Valhalla.

Total 660Elmsford Union Free School District also reported high opt-out rates on this week's state mathematics tests, averaging 24 percent districtwide.

About 12 percent of Elmsford third-grade pupils opted out; about 14 percent of its fourth graders refused to take the tests; and about 23 percent of Elmsford's fifth graders will skip this week's math tests.

The opt-out rates are even higher among Elmsford's middle school students. About 32 percent of its 73 sixth graders opted out while 38 percent of the 76 eligible seventh-grade students opted out of this week's math tests, according to school district officials.

Last week, Elmsford reported that about 58 percent of parent's of eighth graders refused to allow their children to take the English Language Arts Assessment tests.

About 9 percent of Elmsford's third graders opted out this week, about 13 percent of fourth-graders opted out, about 22 percent of fifth graders opted out, about 28 percent of sixth graders opted out, about 38 percent of seventh graders and about 55 percent of eighth graders.That brought the district-wide average to 28 opting out in Elmsford, or a total of 124 of its 437 students eligible to take the ELA state tests.

In Rye's three elementary schools, 61 students opted out, out of a total of 799 students eligible to take the math test. At Rye Middle School, 130 students opted out, out of a total of 814 eligible to take the state test.

Since the Common Core Learning Standards were enacted several years ago, many parents, educators and elected officials have banded together in their opposition of standardized testing, which some charge forces teachers to “teach to the test,” while adding undue stress on students, whose assessments are closely tied to the exams.

As a result, tens of thousands of students, whether on behest of their parents or schools, have boycotted the tests in an attempt to send a message to officials, including Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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