(email conversation with DOE)
How do you opt a child out of the state test?
The quick answer is: you don’t.
Having said that… I assume that you are talking about the state required academic assessments in October (reading at grades 3-8 and 11, mathematics at grades 3-8 and 11, and writing at grades 5, 8 and 11) and in the May (science at grades 4, 8 and 11). All students participate in the regular “NECAP” assessments (New England Common Assessment Program) or the corresponding alternate assessment for students with the most significant cognitive disabilities. There is no “opt” out provision for this test. We do provide exemptions for students with significant medical issues (guidelines may be found on our website), for example: coma, hospitalized with cancer, car accident, etc.
Another assessment (in February) that is run every-other year is the NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress, or the what is commonly called the Nations Report Card) is administered to select students in grades 4, 8 and 12 in select schools. In this assessment, parents may opt their students out of the assessment. A letter is sent home with students outlining the options. I hope this helps. Please write back if you have other questions or would like clarification.
– I am wondering however, if a parent simply refuses to allow the child to take the test, then what happens?
That depends on the school and how you refuse.
For example, if a parent kept a child out of school during testing days, that would fall under the school/district policies on truancy. Ultimately, if a student doesn’t take the tests, a “not tested for unapproved reasons” is assigned to that student for the missed test. The non-participation affects the school’s and district’s participation rate on their yearly AYP (Adequate Yearly Progress) report. This report affects their designation as a “school in need of improvement” status.
As you might suspect, the world doesn’t end. But, you should know that the school/district does not have the authority to let you do this. This is a required part of public education. It serves many purposes… allows parents the opportunity to see how their children are doing overall, allows schools to evaluate the effectiveness of their program, and allows towns and the state to monitor their investment in public education.
I can tell you are hesitant about the testing program. I would like to encourage to reconsider, talk with the school, etc.