Opting out of standardized testing

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Caesar753, May 7, 2015.

  1. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    May 7, 2015

    How does the opt-out process work? What are the consequences, both to the child and to the school/district, if a student opts out?
     
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  3. kellzy

    kellzy Comrade

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    May 7, 2015

    In my state, the parent must request to the school in writing that they are opting their child out of testing. Once they do that, the school must immediately honor the request, even if it's mid-test, the school must pull the child out.
    There are no legal consequences for the parent, child or school. The only thing that could happen is if the child would have passed they would reflect positively on the school and the teacher, and without their score that positive reflection would not be there.
    And if they would have failed the test, the negative score simply does not exist as a reflection on the school or teacher.
     
  4. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    This is a huge issue in my state right now, especially at the high school level, since seniors and some juniors can opt themselves out. Most of the high schools around here have had 10% or less actually taking the tests, especially in the higher SES areas where families are better informed. Some high school students have been organizing walk outs; there were huge ones in the fall during the science/ss state testing. Of course there is a lot of media now reporting that these walkouts were organized by the union and the kids were "coerced" into organizing them- even though some of those districts don't even have active unions! At the elementary level, some families in higher SES areas are opting out- I know the wealthy district just south of us has about 20% opting out in elementary right now. For high school, they had 8 students out of over 500 actually show up to take the test. I haven't heard a peep about opting out in my low SES school- I'm guessing that parents simply don't know it's an option or don't know the reasons why they should consider it.

    There are no "official" consequences for students/parents as far as grades, promotion to the next grade, etc. The district to the south of me tried to tell the seniors that colleges would look at the scores, but considering that the scores won't come out until next December when they are well into college, of course no one bought that! My teammate's son goes to that HS and they offered tons of incentives such as free prom tickets, free breakfast/lunch from local restaurants, raffles, etc. but it mostly didn't work. At the elementary level, parents have to arrange childcare for testing days because if you opt your child out, they cannot attend school during the test. They were told that if the child showed up for school, they would be taking the test, regardless of any letter the child brought stating that their parent wished to opt them out. Most parents weren't aware of this ahead of time. One of my fitness class instructors tried to opt her children out, and was told the day before the test that she'd have to keep them home. She's a nurse and couldn't arrange childcare in time, so she had to send them.

    The consequences for teachers can be significant. Even in my district, we're not allowed to inform parents that they have a right to opt out- they'd have to find this information themselves. In that lovely district to the south of me, which has pay for performance, teachers lose a chunk of their pay based on the number of students in their class that opt out. Teachers can also lose their jobs if they're not working to encourage families to not opt out (no union, no tenure). Teachers are also paid/hired/fired based on test scores, so opt outs hurt their scores as well. If you think about it, most of the ones opting out come from well educated, involved families with children who will likely do well on the test. Although the score doesn't count as a 0, it could be a passing score that the teacher is losing out on, resulting in a lower percentage for their overall pass rate. At the state level, a 95% participation rate is also required to "pass" on the state report card. Schools that don't have enough participation are at risk for losing funding or being taken over by the state. There was actually just a proposed law that went through our state house yesterday about this. They were trying to make it so that schools and teachers could not face sanctions if students opted out, but the law didn't make it through the house. I know a lot of my coworkers who have children really struggled with the decision to opt out or not because they believe in the opt out movement, but felt badly about the consequences for their child's teachers.
     
  5. ms.irene

    ms.irene Connoisseur

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    Waterfall, what state are you in? I'm in CA and at least in my district, I haven't heard of anything close to this level of insanity. I feel lucky to be in a district where, as far as I have experienced, we are treating testing like what it is -- just another test.
     
  6. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    May 7, 2015

    :eek: A neighboring district had 70% of juniors opt out.
     
  7. Rox

    Rox Cohort

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    May 7, 2015

    I'm in California, and we were told the same. We cannot tell parents (even our special education parents) that they have the right to opt out. Otherwise, we could be viewed as "soliciting" and the schools with low scores could just tell all the parents they can opt-out their child. Parents also have to opt-out their child with a written note EVERY YEAR. If you have a note from last year, you need a new one.

    What you are allowed to do is send home a letter stating that your child will be taking the SBAC test. Then they can contact you to request their child opt- out.
     
  8. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

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    May 7, 2015

    In my district standardized tests, for the most part, are the final exams. They are worth 25% of the final grade. I'm sure students and parents can opt out, but they would get a zero for the exam. Thankfully we are not required to make up a teacher-made exam for students that opt out.

    My students would be crazy to choose a teacher-made one anyhow. The state exams are much easier than mine. And I don't curve.
     
  9. waterfall

    waterfall Virtuoso

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    Colorado
     
  10. agdamity

    agdamity Fanatic

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    We have been told that students who opt out receive a score of zero. For the school, that obviously negatively impacts ratings, funding, AYP, etc. For teachers, it negatively impacts evaluations as student scores will be 40% of the evaluation score in the next few years. Students who don't pass (which would include opt-out students) have to complete an AIP, and if they don't can be retained.
     
  11. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    May 7, 2015

    Not a neighboring district, but one in the same state at least, had 100% opt out.
     
  12. Rhesus

    Rhesus Comrade

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    May 7, 2015

    I opted my 3rd grade daughter out.

    It involved submitting a letter. The districts in my state are under orders from the state Dept of Ed to intimidate parents by insinuating that it is not legal to opt out, but that is nonsense. They are also under orders to acquiesce if parents are persistent.

    If more than 5% of students opt out, it invalidates the data for the school.

    https://whatiscommoncore.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/yes-you-can-opt-out-of-common-core-tests/
     
  13. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    May 7, 2015

    Yep! This a federal law.

    To be perfectly honest, though, I didn't realize parents have the right to opt out of state testing until I became an administrator. As a teacher, I'd never heard of it happening, so I didn't know it existed.
     

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