Last year was the first year we even had to consider refusing the New York State exams for grades 3-8. The “opt out” movement is gaining more traction, although “opt out” is not the phrasing you want to use with your school – you want to be clear that you and your child are refusing the tests.
I am sharing my letter below for those who are searching for a sample test refusal letter, which I based on this refusal letter template. You will need to edit it to include your personal information, and perhaps change any “he” to “she” if you have a daughter. The paragraph I’ve put in italics is specific to my son’s situation, and this would be an appropriate place for you to personalize your letter, too.
Thank you for all that you do for our school.
I am writing to respectfully inform you that my child, [child’s name], under my guardianship and advice, will be scored as a “refusal,” with a final score of “999” and a standard achieved code of 96, on all State testing including ELA, Math and Science as described in the 2014-2015 NYS Student Information Repository System (SIRS) Manual version 10.2 on page 63. Please note that a “refusal” is not the same as “absent” as they are defined differently and scored with different standard achieved codes on page 63 of the SIRS Manual. Also note that on page 27 of the 2015 Edition School Administrator’s Manual it is explained that “The makeup dates are to be used for administering makeup tests to students who were ‘ABSENT’ during the designated administration dates.” My child will specifically be scored as a “refusal,” not “absent,” and therefore my child will continue to receive a free and appropriate public education in his regular classroom environment during the administration of all makeup test periods as this letter provides written verification of a “refusal” for all tests. Please do not send me the form letter stating that you cannot “officially permit” my son to refuse the test, as I’ve already read a copy of it in a test refusal group online, and I know my rights as a parent, which Assemblyman Jim Tedisco is trying to clarify in the proposed Common Core Parental Refusal Act.
I would ask that the school please provide an alternative activity for my child during administrative sessions of testing (not makeup tests, as my child will be in his regular classroom environment during makeup tests). However, I understand that an alternative activity is not required on the part of the school. If you are unable to provide an alternative activity for my child I would ask that you please utilize the provision of the NYS Educator Guide to the 2015 Common Core ELA (Math) Tests which, on page 9 (page 7 for Math), explains “When Students Have Completed Their Tests….that student may be permitted to read silently.”
Last year, my son was relocated to the library during exam administration so he would not disturb his classmates who were taking the exams, and this was highly satisfactory. Thank you again for being so accommodating. He was allowed to read library books during that time, but I would be content if he were given subject-related activities (math problems during the math exam, reading during ELA exam, etc.) to complete during this time. Alternately, I have some math and writing modules I’ve purchased from a homeschooling website that I can send in for him to work on during the exam periods.
I am reserving the option of removing my child from school during the test administration session depending on the emotional anxiety state of my child on the day of refusal and whether or not the school will allow for an alternate activity for my child.
In addition, my child will not participate in any stand-alone field testing administered through the NYS Education Department.
Thank you very much. I look forward to a great end of the school year.