How to opt-out of NY State testing (FAQ + link)

March 27, 2022

Hello families!

As we approach the start of state standardized testing next week, we wanted to share some information about opting-out of the testing for your child.

To opt-out your child from some or all of the NYS Testing this year, please fill out this google form.

Voices for Public Education Video Series

Educators and prents speak about their testing experiences. (Watch all videos here)

Testing Opt Out FAQ

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about the testing, the impact on your child, and your rights as a parent.

Below is an FAQ of common questions about opting out of standardized testing.

(Source: NYC OPT OUT)

Q: Does my child have to take the standardized tests?

Short answer: no.
It is your right to opt-out your child from testing without any negative impact.

Q: Will opting out stop my child from getting into a good middle or high school?

This question, and the anxiety it generates, gets to the heart of why many NYC parents are reluctant to opt-out. However, state law specifies that the New York state test scores cannot be the sole or primary criterion in the admissions rubric.

Middle school: For students who will enter 6th grade in September 2021, the NYC Department of Education has forbidden the use of test scores in admissions. Test scores will not factor at all.

High school: Every high school is required to have an admissions formula (called a “rubric”) approved by the DOE. In many cases, schools don’t use state test scores in their rubrics at all. (This includes all New York City specialized high schools, for example.)

  • There are many reasons besides test refusal why students might not have NY state scores: they moved here recently, they went to private school, they were ill during both test administration and makeup days. Accordingly, the admissions rubric must include information about how the school addresses students who don’t have New York state test scores. In most cases, schools that ordinarily include scores as part of their rubrics will simply increase the weight given to report card grades and/or attendance or behavior when a student has no scores to report.
  • Students have been refusing the tests in New York City, in growing numbers, for upwards of 8 years now. They have received offers to a variety of the city’s middle and high schools, including its most sought after. This is true even for students who refused the tests in 4th or 7th grade. (Scores from those years are generally the only ones considered in admissions rubrics, at least in non-pandemic times—and, as noted above, most schools have workarounds for students who lack scores.)


Q: If we refuse the tests, will my child have to take the make up?

No, make-up exams are for children who were absent during the testing period (and who were not intending to refuse the tests). If you have any concerns about whether the school will respect your right to opt out, make it clear that you are refusing the makeup tests as well.

Q: Will students who refuse the tests be subject to any negative consequences (being scored a level 1, held back, banned from extracurricular activities, denied services, etc.)?

Legally, there are absolutely no consequences for students who refuse the assessments. Students who refuse will be coded as “not tested” and will not receive a score. Please refer to questions below if you are told otherwise or are wondering about a specific alleged consequence.

Q: How do I opt-out my child from testing?
  1. The easiest way to opt-out of testing is to fill out this short form for our school:

    Opt-out of testing at PS20

  2. Alternatively, you can submit a letter to the school. Sample letters can be found here:

    Sample Opt-out letters


Q: How do I get more information?

The NYC Opt Out organization has a lot of of very clear and detailed info. Check out their website, their Twitter feed, or Facebook page.

They also hosted a good info session recently:

Understanding Grade 3-8 State Tests with Representative Jamaal Bowman
(Video 48 mins)

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