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Opt-outs on state English test top 97,000 on LI

These third-graders at Oxhead Road Elementary School in

These third-graders at Oxhead Road Elementary School in Centereach, in the Middle Country district, opted out of taking the state English Language Arts test on Thursday, March 31, 2017, and spent the time reading books of their choice. Photo Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

The number of students on Long Island in grades three through eight who refused to take the state English Language Arts exam this week topped 97,000, according to a Newsday survey that brought responses from 116 of the 124 public school districts in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The updated totals from all responding districts showed 97,068 students of 189,417 eligible to take the exam — 51.2 percent — opted out of the test, according to the survey.

Three more school districts — Central Islip, Elmont and Farmingdale — supplied figures Friday, increasing the total number of pupils who refused to take the exam but lowering the Island’s overall percentage of opt-outs from the 52.2 percent published online Thursday night and in Friday’s newspaper.

Last year, when 108 systems responded to Newsday’s survey, 89,036 students of 172,410 eligible to take the ELA — 51.6 percent — opted out of the test.

The paper-based English test was given statewide Tuesday through Thursday. In eight districts on the Island, the new, computer-based exam was also was given over three days in some grades, with some students starting to take the test on Monday and some on Tuesday.

Here are figures from the three districts that supplied test-refusal numbers on Friday.

  • Central Islip: Students eligible to take the test, 3,399; students who refused, 430; refusal percentage, 12.7 percent.
  • Elmont: Eligible, 2,204; refused, 232; percentage, 10.5 percent
  • Farmingdale: Eligible, 2,617; refused, 1,747; percentage, 66.8 percent

The data also reflects a change in figures from Southampton, which supplied Newsday with incorrect numbers on Thursday. In that system, 350 of 647 students eligible to take the test refused to do so, for a district test-refusal percentage of 54.1 percent.

Overall, the updated totals showed 37,707 of 85,563 eligible students in Nassau districts — 44.1 percent — boycotted the ELA, and 59,361 of 103,854 eligible students in Suffolk districts — 57.2 percent — refused to take the test.

Districts that did not respond to Newsday’s survey were Greenport, Island Park, Lindenhurst, North Shore, Southold, Uniondale and Wyandanch.

The Sagaponack district declined to provide data because the system’s small school population would result in inadvertent identification of children.


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