New York families will “opt-in” students into state exams this year

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The city’s Department of Education is administering state exams this year in-person, and parents have just three dates to notify the agency that their children will sit for standardized tests, officials announced on Tuesday. 

Normally, all New York City public school students in the third through eighth grade are required by federal law to sit for state tests in English and math and the sciences. But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New York State Education Department canceled all of these standardized tests last year.

State education officials requested a waiver for the exams but the Biden administration is requiring that students sit for the tests but allowing districts to give shorter or remote versions of the tests or to extend the amount of time schools have to administer them. The federal government also said states would not be held accountable for the results of this spring’s tests. 

“We recognize that our students are facing many different circumstances due to the pandemic and in accordance with New York State Education Department guidance, we will be offering State exams in-person for those families who are interested in having their children participate,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Ross Porter. “Schools will send information about how families can sign up, and we will work closely with our school communities as they prepare to safely administer tests to those who choose to participate this year.”

Now, the department is notifying parents that they will not be penalized for not opting their children into taking state exams this semester. Families that want their children to take state tests, must notify their children’s school by Thursday, April 15 if their children are interested in sitting for the English exam and Thursday, April 29 for the math exam. Families with students in the fourth through eighth grade interested in taking a state science exam must notify their school by Friday, May 28. 

State exams in English will be given between April 19-29 while exams in math will be administered between May 3-14 followed by science exams on June 7-June 11, according to the DOE. This year, math and English exams will be multiple choices only and science exams will consist of multiple choice and short answer questions. 

Families must notify schools of their children’s intention to sit for exams by the deadlines in order to allow administrators the chance to accommodate all test takers while abiding by social distancing guidelines.