March 27, 2015
Dear Parents/Guardians,

State testing programs are required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act (“NCLB”). NCLB requires states to administer tests in English Language Arts (“ELA”) and Mathematics in Grades 3-8. This mandate is also codified in State law under Sections 100.3 and 100.4 of the Regulations of the Commissioner of Education. Testing this year will take place on the following dates:
Tuesday, April 14 - Thursday, April 16 for ELA
Wednesday, April 22 - Friday, April 24 for Mathematics
The ELA and Mathematics examinations for Grades 3-8 will be comprised of a number of books per grade and administered over the course of three consecutive days. Depending on the grade level, each assessment session will be approximately 70 to 90 minutes long. Exams will begin promptly for all students by 8:30 A.M. each day.
All public school students in Grades 3-8 are required to take all State tests administered for their grade level. If your child is absent during the designated test dates, he or she will be provided with the opportunity to make-up the exam. Please be aware that the timeframe for such make-ups is limited and will take place on the days following the initial administration of the exam. The make-up dates are to be used for administering the exams to students who were absent during the designated administration dates.
With limited exception, such as situations involving students with disabilities, neither statute nor regulation, provides for an “opt-out” from these mandated assessments. Students who choose not to participate in an assessment will not receive a score for that exam and are reported to the State as “not tested.” However, it is important to note that the classification of “not tested” does not suggest that opting out of the exams is lawful or permissible. Students are still expected to attend school during the exam periods. Also, there will be no Spirit Meet on the days of the exams. More information may be sent home from your child’s teacher once we get closer to the testing dates.  
To better prepare our children for these rigorous exams, we are asking parents/guardians to assist us with reading at home. Since the exams will be more difficult in English Language Arts, due to increased text complexity of passages and questions that will test student proficiency, we are encouraging students to read more in school and at home. Depending on the grade level, students are expected to read approximately 30 minutes per night. During the time leading up to the exams, we are asking parents to encourage their children to read for 45 minutes each night at home. Doing so will help build the student’s proficiency, which in turn will better their performance on the State assessments. Furthermore, in recent years, reading has become more prevalent on the Mathematics examinations. Therefore, strengthening your child’s proficiency in reading will also help their performance on the Mathematics exam. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact your child’s teacher or my office at 324-0144 ext 102.

Eric M. Casale