The fan club for standardized testing among students is not very big, if it exists at all. But this year, city public school students from third through eighth grades actually have an out.
Although President Joe Biden gave the go-ahead for states to move forward with standardized testing this year, New York took time to consider what was on the table. The vast majority of Regents exams were canceled for high school students — only English and select math and science exams will proceed as planned.
For younger students, however, state testing will look different. In years past, students had the option to opt out of state testing. But thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, this year, they’ll have to opt in instead.
That means, by default, these students will not take state exams. Others will take it only if their parents choose for them to do so.
This decision seems to echo some of the parting words of former schools chancellor Richard Carranza. He had recognized students were facing unprecedented challenges during the pandemic, and urged parents to consider giving them a break as far as standardized tests were concerned.
“As an educator, I would say to parents there is an opt-out, and if there is ever a time to consider whether that opt-out makes sense for you, now is the time,” Carranza said last February. “We do not want to impose additional trauma on students that have already been traumatized.”
The deadline to opt into English exams has already passed. However, families have until April 29 to opt into math exams, with students from at least the fourth-grade level given until next month to decide if they’ll take science exams.