March 25, 2015
RE: Smarter Balance Opting Out
The State of New Hampshire requires an annual statewide assessment for English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, to that end the State Board of Education has chosen both the Smarter Balanced and Science NECAP assessments. Therefore, according to statute, RSA 193-C, the Superintendent is not authorized to exempt any student without an approved specific reason and parental choice is not an approved specific reason. Exemptions can be approved through the Director of Assessment at the NH DOE and the following exemptions may be considered: medical emergency or serious illness, severe emotional distress, a death in the family, and eligibility for the NH Alternative Assessment as indicated in and IEP or English Language Learner plan.
Fall Mountain Regional School District Policy, IGE-Parental Objections to Specific Course Materials encompasses NH RSA 186:11 section IX-c. However, this does not apply to a request to opt out. The Smarter Balanced test is not course material. It is a required assessment therefore, the district will not work to develop an alternative activity for this test as would be required in the policy for course material.
Parents should be made aware that public school children are legally obligated to take the Smarter Balanced Assessment. It is the districts legal obligation to administer the assessment, and all public school students in the designated grades are legally obligated to take the assessment.
The assessment provides feedback in the form of another piece of data that reflects a student’s progress. As explained, we do not have the authority to allow any student or parent to opt out of the state assessments, and we will expect each student to log-in and try their best.
Keeping in mind the purpose of the law: “A well-educated populace is essential for the maintenance of democracy, the continued growth of our economy, and the encouragement of personal enrichment and development...widespread participation in the establishment of a statewide education improvement and assessment program is essential” (RSA 193-C:1).
Respect: Treating yourself and others with patience, understanding and honor.
Citizenship: Demonstrating a commitment to our community, our nation, and our world.
Integrity: Acting in a manner that is trustworthy, virtuous, and dedicated.