April 1, 2014

Area schools to accommodate test refusals

PLATTSBURGH — Many area schools are taking similar approaches with students whose parents opt them out of the state’s third-through-eighth-grade exams.

The English language arts test is set to be administered over a three-day period beginning today, while the math assessment will be given April 30 through May 2.

However, a number of parents statewide have refused to allow their children to take the controversial tests, which are based on the newly implemented Common Core Curriculum. 

According to published reports, the measures districts are taking to handle the refusals differ across the state, with some schools requiring students to sit at their desks and do nothing for the duration of the exams, a practice known as “sit and stare.”

In the North Country, however, several districts have indicated they plan to accommodate students whose parents have requested they not participate in the required exams. 

“I do not know a district that is instituting a ‘sit and stare’ policy,” said Beekmantown Central School Superintendent Dan Mannix. 

Instead, he noted, BCSD students not participating in the tests “will be allowed to read, relax or complete appropriate work as determined by the principal.”


Officials at Northern Adirondack and Saranac central schools and Plattsburgh City School District have also said students will be permitted to read or work quietly during the testing periods. 

In addition, some of these districts have indicated that, if available, a separate, supervised location will be provided for children while their classmates are completing the assessments.

“If a parent letter is received, we will accept that as a refusal, and the student will go directly to a previously arranged, alternative location,” AuSable Valley Superintendent Paul Savage said. “No test will be placed in front of the student.”

Similarly, Chazy Central Rural School Superintendent John Fairchild said his district plans to honor the few test refusals it has received from parents. 

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