Dear Roxbury Parents and Guardians,
I have received a number of inquiries regarding the ability of parents and students to choose to “opt out” or refuse to participate in the new statewide assessment program known as the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).
For those who are unaware, the Roxbury Public School District is mandated under N.J.A.C. N.J.S.A. 18A:7C-1 to administer the upcoming PARCC assessment. The New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner David Hespe has stated in his October 30th memo, that:
“The PARCC assessment is part of the State required educational program, schools are not required to provide an alternative educational program for students who do not participate in the statewide assessment. We encourage all chief school administrators to review the district’s discipline and attendance policies to ensure that they address situations that may arise during days that statewide assessments, such as PARCC, are being administered.”
Thus, the NJ Department of Education has left it up to local school districts to address situations in which parents refuse the test for their child. Therefore, it is my position, that the Roxbury Public Schools will implement a logical and respectful set of protocols for those parents who choose not to have their child assessed. These protocols will be communicated through the numerous district communication avenues to all parents and guardians. It is my intent that proactively sharing these protocols will alleviate anxiety and stress for some parents and children. Please know, this is NOT an endorsement for the refusal of the test. It is my way to acknowledge and respect a parent’s right to be actively involved in their child’s education.
Protocols for parents who refuse to allow their child to take the PARCC standardized assessment:
Parents are requested to provide a letter with a signature to the building principal prior to the actual dates of the testing stating that it is their intention for their child to refuse to take the PARCC assessment. Please provide your letter prior to FEBRUARY 17, 2015 so that building principals can plan accordingly. Letters of refusal will be accepted after that date, but may hamper the implementation of the accommodations outlined below.
Children in the elementary and middle school grades whose parent(s) have submitted a written statement of intent and who attend school on a PARCC testing day will be marked present for the day. During the testing periods, those children will be located in a room separate from the “testing environment,” and will be asked to read or work independently and quietly while supervised by a staff member. The testing each day will last between 50 – 90 minutes. We encourage those children not sitting for the test to bring a book or other materials to read during that time.
Students in the high school whose parent(s) have submitted a written statement of intent and who attend school on a PARCC testing day will be marked present for the day. Students will be directed to a specified location separate from the testing environment and will be asked to read or work quietly there.
Children whose parent(s) have NOT submitted a written statement of intent and who are not present on the day of the assessment will be marked absent and will sit for the PARCC make-up test as scheduled. Similarly, children whose parent(s) have not submitted a written statement of intent and who arrive at school after the testing is completed, will be marked as tardy for the day and absent for the test. Those children will be required to sit for the PARCC makeup test as scheduled.
Children whose parent(s) have submitted a written statement of intent and who do not attend school during testing will be marked absent. Those children will NOT be required to sit for the PARCC makeup test. The reason these children will be marked absent is because even though the PARCC testing is taking place on that day, the testing takes between 50 – 90 minutes and is not the only activity occurring throughout the day. Similarly, children whose parent(s) have submitted a written statement of intent and who arrive at school after the testing will be marked tardy. They will not be required to sit for the makeup PARCC test. Thus, even if you choose for your child not to take the PARCC tests, we encourage you to send your child to school on time on the testing days unless there is a verified reason not to (e.g., illness, doctor appointment).
RECORDING AND REPORTING
In the past, when a parent chose not to allow their child to take the state-mandated test, the school was required to record the test as a “void” and include the student’s ID number on an “irregularity” report. We have not yet heard from the state what recording procedures to use for students whose parents have requested that their child not sit for the PARCC. Please be assured that whatever record-keeping measures the state requires of the district will not affect the student’s class grades or attendance records.
I suggest you visit the PARCC website for more detailed information about PARCC. Our hope is to ensure that all families are appropriately informed about this new assessment.
Patrick Tierney, Ed.D
Superintendent of Schools