By David Madden

TRENTON, N.J. (CBS) — New Jersey ‘s Education Commissioner was pressed this week on participation in controversial standardized student performance tests and in particular those who are opting out of those tests.

The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC tests, have gotten a great deal of attention. Perhaps too much, at least as Commissioner David Hespe sees it.

He testified before the Assembly Budget Committee.

“Parental refusals were actually very low, especially for our youngest test takers. We did see much higher parental refusal numbers in 11th grade and this is an issue we need to work on in future years.”

The refusal rate was just three percent in elementary schools, while seven percent of 9th and 10th graders didn’t take it.

In 11th grade, about 14 percent opted out.

Hespe says those numbers are preliminary and the final figures will be available in May after testing wraps up.

Opponents of the PARCC tests suggest that getting ready for them cuts into actual classroom time.