Here is good news indeed!

After a dozen years of test mania in New York City, Chancellor Carmen Farina issued instructions for testing that make clear that students will not be punished for opting out of the state tests that start next week.

Here are key quotes:

What should a principal do if parents express an interest in opting their children out of the State

“The principal should offer to meet with the parents to discuss their concerns. The principal may want to explain that a student’s test scores will be only one of a number of factors that evaluate his or her progress and describe the impacts of opting out of the State exams (as detailed in this School Guide and in the corresponding Parent Guide). If, after consulting with the principal, the parents still want to opt their child out of the exams, the principal should respect the parents’ decision and let them know that the school will work to the best of their ability to provide the child with an alternate educational activity (e.g., reading) during testing times.

“What happens after test administration if a student refuses to participate in State testing?

“Students who do not participate will not receive a score, similar to students who were present for the exam but did not respond to any questions or for students whose exams were invalidated as a result of an administrative error.

“For promotion decisions: Promotion portfolio assessments will be prepared based on specified exercises that assess students’ proficiency. Results will be reviewed by the teacher, principal and then by the superintendent, who makes a final determination based upon standard benchmarks. Students who achieve proficiency based on the portfolio assessment will be promoted. Some students with IEPs and some English Language Learners have different promotion standards based on their needs, as described here.”

Imagine that! “The principal should respect the parents’ decision….!” What a thought! When was the last time you heard anything like that from school authorities?