Top Stories 2015: Hundreds of students opt out of state assessments


Only a portion of students were declared “proficient” in state math and English Language Arts exams this year, as local superintendents claimed the assessments failed to accurately reflect student performance.

The number of students refusing to take the exams has continued to grow for the past three years and educators say current test scores don’t provide a clear picture of a school’s ability to educate youth.

Mattituck superintendent Anne Smith said she thinks this year’s scores are difficult to interpret because 35 percent of her district’s students refused to take the ELA assessments and 40 percent opted out of the math exams.

David Gamberg, superintendent for both the Greenport and Southold school districts and an outspoken critic of the Common Core testing rules, said he doesn’t believe the recent scores have any validity at all because the majority of school districts across the state didn’t meet the mandated 95 percent student participation rate.

In Greenport, about 61 percent of students refused to take the ELA exam and 68 percent opted out of the math test. Nearly 64 percent of Southold’s eligible students skipped the ELA tests and 58 percent refused to sit for the math exams.

The Oysterponds Elementary School District had 12 out of 38 students decline to take math assessments. Seven of the district’s third- through sixth-graders refused to sit for ELA exams.

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