One of five students on North Shore opt out of math exams

(Photo by timlewisnm via Flickr)

About one in five students on the North Shore opted out of taking state math exams this year, according to numbers provided to Blank Slate Media by the schools, marking a decrease from the previous year.

Across 10 school districts, 16,303 students were eligible, and 3,570 of them opted out, or  21.9 percent.

Last year, 4,014 of the eligible 15,029 students across the North Shore opted out of math exams, a rate of 26.71 percent.

The decline came after the state Education Department reduced testing time to two days from three and allowed some schools to test students on computers.

Generally students in grades three through eight are eligible to take exams, although many districts like Mineola noted that they have their eighth-graders take the Algebra Regents exams instead.

The 21.9 percent rate is less than half the average rate across Long Island. Newsday found that 46.9 percent of students in 94 districts surveyed declined to sit for the math exams. Thirty districts did not provide information.

Opt-out advocates have previously argued there is an unhealthy emphasis on testing students, tests are too difficult and the state exams treat teachers unfairly by linking test scores with performance.

All 10 North Shore school districts fell below the Nassau average, which Newsday calculated at 39.1 percent.

Herricks schools had the lowest opt-out rate of 11.31 percent, with 207 students of an eligible 1,831 declining to take the state exam. In second place was Great Neck, with 446 students of an eligible 3,008 – or 14.83 percent – declining the exam.

East Williston’s opt-out rate was 16.67 percent, with 111 out of 666 eligible students opting out of the exams. Last year nearly one in four eligible students – 23.82 percent – opted out of the tests.

Of Manhasset’s 1,361 eligible students, 236 – or 17.34 percent – declined to take state exams. The Manhasset school district is the only one to see an increase in its opt-out rates, albeit slight, as 16.92 percent of eligible students declined to take the math exams last year.

Six districts had opt-out rates above 20 percent, including Mineola, Roslyn, Floral Park-Bellerose, Port Washington, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park and Sewanhaka.

In Mineola, 237 of 1,098 students opted out, or 21.58 percent.

Roslyn’s opt-out rate was 23.92 percent, with 288 of 1,204 eligible students declining to take the exams. Its opt-out rate last year was 28.19 percent.

Floral Park-Bellerose schools had an opt-out rate of 24.13 percent, as 201 of its 833 eligible students declined to take the tests. This is a slight decrease from last year, when 28.4 percent of eligible students declined to sit for the exams.

Port Washington’s opt-out rate was 25.91 percent – 690 of 2,663 students. Last year, 30.01 percent of eligible students declined to take the exams.

New Hyde Park-Garden City Park saw 275 of its 1,026 students opt out of exams for a rate of 26.8 percent. Last year, 30.19 percent opted out.

Only one North Shore school district – Sewanhaka – had an opt-out rate above 30 percent, with 879 of 2,613 students opting out of math exams, or 33.64 percent. This, however, is considerably lower than the district’s opt-out rate last year, when 43.9 percent of eligible students opted out.

The opt-out rates are relatively consistent with the ELA exams. Newsday reported an overall opt-out rate of 49.1 percent across Long Island and an opt-out rate of 40.7 for Nassau County.

North Shore schools, meanwhile, also reported low opt-out rates: Great Neck saw 16.7 percent of students decline those exams, Manhasset 19.3, Roslyn 26.9, Port Washington 27, East Williston 28.4, Sewanhaka 37, New Hyde Park-Garden City Park 27.7, and Herricks – also the lowest here – 11.9 percent.

About the author

Janelle Clausen

Janelle Clausen is a reporter with Blank Slate Media covering the Great Neck peninsula and Town of North Hempstead. She previously freelanced for the Amityville Record, Massapequa Post and the Babylon Beacon. When not reporting, the south shore native can...
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