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Local News

April 8, 2014

Area schools: Many have opted out of tests


At Worcester Central School, Superintendent William Diamond said about 40 percent of students in grades 3-8 opted out. One of those involved in the effort said 65 of the 150 students eligible notified the district they would not participate.

“I appreciate the position that parents have taken,” Diamond said. “It’s a very complicated issue, and it is difficult to get all the information out.”

As in Oneonta, students who didn’t participate were provided with alternative activities during the tests. Schools across the state asked for guidance and support on the issues, but that has not been received before the tests, Diamond said.

The impact of the move remains to be seen, he said. It would probably be felt by the district if it becomes a trend that lasts for at least two years, but “it is too soon to speculate,” he said. He said he’s expecting a similar response for the standardized math test.

The test results are valuable to teachers as instruction is adjusted to meet the Common Core, he said. Because of the lack of test scores, other means will have to be used to gather data, he said, but the tests will continue to be used for teacher evaluations.

Worcester parent Stacey Serdy said she has one child old enough to be taking standardized testm and she opted out. Serdy said she helped found the Worcester Community for Education group, following forums by the Oneonta Area group.

She said she was concerned about what teachers were going through to meet the new state and federal requirements, including Common Core and teacher evaluations, and that she sees this as an effort to slow down the process or stop it all together. 

By the numbers New York state • Of 1.2 million eligible students, 28,000 opt out (2.3 percent) Oneonta • Of 750 students, 150 opt out (20 percent) Worcester • Of 150 students, 65 opt out (43 percent)

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