How to opt out in NYC

Ready to Opt Out? Here’s How (See Why Opt Out)

1. Notify the principal in writing that you intend to “refuse” the tests on behalf of your child. Download the sample refusal letter below. You can also send a copy to your child’s teacher.

2. Follow up with the principal to confirm a plan to engage your child in a meaningful activity during testing periods. Most schools will find a place for test refusers to read or work on homework or allow them to help out in another classroom.

3. If you are told that your child MUST take the exams or that negative consequences will result from refusing the tests, refer the principal to the Parent Guide issued by the NYC Department of Education in March 2016. This document states: “If, after consulting with the principal, the parents still want to opt their child out of the exams, the principal should respect the parents’ decision and let them know that the school will work to the best of their ability to provide the child with an alternate educational activity (e.g., reading) during testing times.” You can find the guide here.

4. If you have questions, refer to this list of questions and answers. This document addresses misinformation about refusing the tests as well as questions about the use of test scores for middle and high school admissions. You can also find it below.

5. If you have problems, contact us at We’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Fact Sheets

8 Reasons to Opt Out ENGLISH/ SPANISH

Opting Out of the State ELA & Math Tests in NYC: Frequently Asked Questions (color)

Opting Out of the State ELA & Math Tests in NYC: Frequently Asked Questions (b&w)

Sample Opt Out Letters

English: .html | .doc
Spanish: .html | .doc

From the NYC Department of Education

NYC DOE FAQ: Student Participation in Grades 3-8 New York State Tests, Parent Guide 2016

Will My School Lose Funding?

Why You Can Boycott Standardized Tests Without Fear of Federal Penalties to Your School (Fairtest)

The 95% Participation Rate and How Schools Do NOT Lose Funding (NYSAPE)