This story has been updated.
WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Area school districts reported as many as half of their eligible students have opted out of the state-required math assessment test as the third day of testing began Friday.
"It's an epidemic,'' one top school administrator said on Friday. "Kids are talking to kids. Parents are talking to parents. Kids start to panic."
Reports from Elmsford, Ossining, Valhalla and Yorktown school districts indicate that -- depending on the grade level -- anywhere from 15 percent to 52 percent of students' parents have refused to let them take the tests. New York state bases some of its state aid on the level of student participation, but has yet to deny financial aid to any district due to lower participation in the state-required assessment tests.
Last week, Daily Voice reported that depending on the grade level, as many as 30 to 50 percent of students offered the English Language Arts assessment refused to take the state tests in Putnam and Westchester counties.
At Ossining Union Free School District, 584 of 2,122 eligible students in grades three through eight opted out of the math tests, or 28 percent. Among eighth graders at Anne M. Dorner Middle School, a total of 164 of the eligible 318 students opted out, or 52 percent of the class according to figures provided on Thursday.
By contrast at Port Chester Public Schools, less than 3 percent of all elementary school children opted out of math tests, and less than 5 percent of the eligible students at Port Chester Middle School, according to figures provided on Friday.
At Valhalla Union Free School District, a total of 50 out of 124 eligible sixth graders -- or more than 40 percent -- opted out on Wednesday. About 36 percent of the seventh grader students at Valhalla Middle School opted out, and 39 percent of all eighth graders.
At Valhalla's Kensico Eliementary School, a total of 37 of 109 eligible pupils in third grade opted out, or nearly 34 percent. About 18 percent of Kensico's fourth grade opted out and 21 percent of its fifth grade.
District-wide, an average of 32 percent of Valhalla's students opted out of the first day of math assessment tests.
At Elmsford Union Free School District, the district-wide refusal rate was lower on day one of the math tests, at about 14.5 percent.
The highest rates of refusal in Elmsford were among sixth-graders, where the opt-out rate averaged nearly 22 percent; and among fourth-grade pupils, where the opt-out rate was nearly 18 percent.
Elmsford chose to have its eighth-graders take a math Regents exam in lieu of that grade's math assessment tests.
At Yorktown Central School District, about 30 percent of all eligible students refused to take the math test on Wednesday district-wide.
In grades 3-5, 242 students refused to take the math test in Yorktown. In grades 6-8, 257 students refused. Yorktown's participation rate on the math tests was about 97 percent last year.
The math opt-out rates were even higher in Putnam County where 52 percent of the 1,946 eligible students at Mahopac Central School District refused to take the math test on Wednesday. An average of 40 percent opted out in Putnam Valley, where half of the sixth grade opted out of Wednesday's math test, and 56 percent of eighth graders refused to take it.
Daily Voice will report more math test opt-out rates as we receive them from area school districts.
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