Authorities say thousands of students sat out the first day of New York's statewide English assessments.
Reports from around the state indicate varying levels of participation in the Common Core-aligned tests, which continue Wednesday and Thursday.
While about 98 percent of third- through eighth-grade students in Schenectady sat for the assessments Tuesday, only about 30 percent of eligible students in West Seneca did.
On Long Island, about 2,000 students opted out of the test in Middle Country, one of Suffolk's largest school districts. That's more than half of the 3rd through 8th graders who were supposed to take it.
"It's not a fair test," said mother Wendie Rodgers, who didn't allow her son to take the English test which began today.
Parent critics and teachers unions say the tests and time spent preparing for them take away from creative instruction and that tying results to annual teacher rankings has worsened the problem.
But state Education Department spokesman Jonathan Burman says test refusal is a mistake because it deprives parents and taxpayers of information about how students are doing.
Statewide math assessments are scheduled for next week. Educators are concerned that as word spreads of students opting out of these exams, more will follow suit.
-- Greg Cergol contributed to this report