On Monday night, the South Orange-Maplewood School District published guidelines for parents who wish to have their children opt out of the new PARCC standardized test.
Parents are asked to email or send a letter to the building principal as soon as possible to indicate their refusal to have their children take the test if they are doing so. They are also encouraged to send their children to school on testing days and have them arrive on time regardless of whether or not they are participating in the test. Students opting out are asked to bring a book to “keep them occupied during the hours of the testing.” Students will be in the same room as students taking the test due to limited space and personnel. Parents are being assured that there will be no negative consequences or disciplinary action for any student who is not taking the assessment.
Meanwhile, the Board of Education decided tonight to table a vote on a policy regarding opting out of the PARCC exams. The decision was made after a lengthy discussion. (The Village Green will publish a full report on the PARCC policy discussion later.) However, the district does not need to have the Board vote on a policy in order to issue directives about opting out of the exam.
Read the full PARCC opt-out guideline letter here:
Dear Parents and Guardians,
As you may know, this year New Jersey has mandated a new assessment for all public school districts to administer to students called the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Career (PARCC). The PARCC will be administered in place of the NJASK for English Language Arts and Math in grades 3-11. A FAQ is attached providing additional information about the PARCC, and SOMSD’s preparation to administer this state-mandated assessment.
Our goal is to ensure that testing administration is stress-free, smooth and orderly.
- The 2015 PARCC will have no academic consequences for students. It will be used as baseline data only, and will not be used for academic placement.
- Testing will take place in March; the testing dates are on the attached calendar. There will be a second round of PARCC testing in May.
- The testing time will vary from day to day, but all tests will be administered in the morning.
- Students are encouraged to get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and to arrive at school on time.
SOMSD recognizes that some families have concerns about their children participating in PARCC testing, and we have received some questions about what happens should a family refuse to allow their child/children to be tested. We respect personal parental concerns about this assessment, while at the same time we are adhering to state regulations. This year, the state has left it up to local school districts to decide how to handle those situations in which parents choose to have their children refuse to take the standardized assessment. If you are planning to refuse to allow your son or daughter to take the test, please note the following:
- There will be no negative consequences or disciplinary action for any student who is not taking the assessment.
- Please send an email or a letter to the building principal as soon as possible indicating that you are refusing to have your child take the PARCC test. Please do not keep your child home from school. We are required to follow all attendance rules and regulations.
- If you choose to not have your child take the state test, one letter will suffice for a refusal of the Performance Based Assessment in March, including make-up testing.
- Students must be on time for school regardless of whether or not they are participating in the testing.
- We ask you to have non-test taking students bring a book to keep them occupied during the hours of testing. They will remain in the classroom with the other students who are being tested. We cannot provide a separate space for non- testing students due to lack of personnel and space.
There is additional information about PARCC on the district website.
Thank you for your partnership in helping SOMSD meet our state-mandate.
James G. Memoli