Protects Students who Refuse PARCC & Other High Stakes Standardized Tests

This bill allows a parent or guardian of a student to provide written notification to a school district or charter school that the student will not participate in the administration of a standardized assessment. No later than September 15 of each school year, a district or charter school shall provide information to parents and guardians regarding the standardized assessments, including State assessments and assessments developed and scored by an entity under contract, that will be administered during the school year. A parent or guardian will have until October 15 to notify the district or charter school of the decision to exclude a student from the assessments; in the case of a student who transfers to a district or charter school after that date, the notification must be submitted within 15 school days of the transfer.

A school district or charter school would be required to provide educationally appropriate alternative activities for a student who, under the bill, is not participating in the administration of a standardized assessment. Any such alternative activity must occur in a room other than the room in which the assessment is being administered.

A school district or charter school would be precluded from making a determination regarding a student’s placement in various programs based solely on the fact that the student did not participate in a standardized assessment. Nothing in the bill is to be construed to exempt a student from any high school graduation requirement established under current law.

The Legislation reads:

AN ACT concerning the administration of standardized assessments and supplementing chapter 7C of Title 18A of the New Jersey Statutes.
BE IT ENACTED by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:
1. As used in this act, “standardized assessment” means:
a. an assessment required pursuant to State or federal law and administered to all students in a specific grade level or subject area and whose results are aggregated for analysis at the district, school, or student subgroup level; or
b. an assessment that is administered by a school district or charter school that requires all test takers to answer the same questions, or a selection of questions from a common bank of questions, in the same manner, and is developed and scored by an entity under contract with a board of education or charter school board of trustees.

2. a. No later than the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year, each school district or charter school shall establish a procedure for a parent or guardian of a public school student to provide written notification that the student will not participate in the administration of a standardized assessment. To facilitate the parent or guardian’s decision, the school district or charter school shall, no later than September 15 of each school year, provide to the parent or guardian of a student enrolled in the district or charter school information regarding any standardized assessment that is scheduled to be administered to the student in that school year. The information shall include, but need not be limited to, the following:
(1) the subject area of the assessment and the grade levels covered by the standardized assessment;
(2) the date or dates on which the assessment will be administered;
(3) the manner in which the assessment results will be used, including whether the results will be used for placement in gifted and talented programs, placement in other programs or interventions, grade promotion, graduation, or any other district or school decision affecting students; and
(4) whether the assessment is required by the State, the federal government, or both, or if the assessment is required only by the school district or charter school.
b. A parent or guardian of a student enrolled in a school district or charter school shall provide written notification no later than October 15 of each school year detailing which standardized assessments are not to be administered to the student. In the case of a student who transfers into a school district or charter school after October 15, the parent or guardian shall provide written notification within 15 school days of the transfer.

3. In the case of a student who does not participate in the administration of a standardized assessment pursuant to the provisions of section 2 of this act, a school district or charter school shall provide educationally appropriate alternative activities during the time in which the assessment is being administered. Any alternative activity shall not occur in the same room in which the assessment is being administered.

4. In making a determination regarding a student’s placement in gifted and talented programs, placement in other programs or interventions, grade promotion, or any other district or school decision affecting students, a school district or charter school shall not base its decision solely on a parent or guardian’s determination to not have the student participate in the administration of a standardized assessment. Nothing in this act shall be construed to exempt a student from the graduation requirements established pursuant to P.L.1979, c.241 (C.18A:7C-1 et seq.).

5. This act shall take effect immediately.

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