Sunday, March 27, 2016

Amherst and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees Approve MCAS Opt-Out Resolution

In a joint meeting on Tuesday, March 22, the Amherst and Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committees passed the following resolution affirming students’ rights to opt-out of MCAS testing, and educators’ rights to discuss their opinions about testing without any form of retribution. The resolution is available on the ARPS website at and the text is below:

By law, students, in consultation with their families, have the right to opt out of state-wide standardized tests such as MCAS and PARCC. Consistent with prior practice, students along with their families, who choose to exercise a student’s right to opt out of these assessments—either by a statement or a note from parents or guardians—will not be subject to any form of negative consequences from the school district.

Opting out will not have negative implications for grades or class placement of any individual student. High School students should be aware that Massachusetts regulations dictate that a passing score on the tenth grade level MCAS is a graduation requirement. Educators who choose to discuss the right to opt-out with their students or with parents shall not be subject to any form of retribution by anyone in the Amherst or Amherst Regional public schools. 

We are pleased to reaffirm that free speech is a fundamental right of all members of our educational community.