Get All the Facts Before Opting-Out

Public schools have often been criticized in the past for "teaching to the test".  Now as public schools around the state begin giving the new state exams aligned with Common Core standards, there is more criticism about the time it takes to administer the tests when the students should be learning. Another common dislike of the tests is that the results are tied to school grade cards and teacher evaluations.

With that criticism has come a growing movement of parents choosing to “opt-out” of the testing or keeping their kids from taking the tests. Under current law parents do have that right, and we are supportive of parents knowing best.  We are also supportive, however, of parents being informed when making their decision. 

So it’s important that parents know that there are consequences to opting out.  As reported by The Columbus Dispatch on Monday February 23, 2015 (article link at bottom of post):

Under the state’s third-grade reading guarantee, third-graders cannot be promoted to the fourth grade unless they earn a minimum score on the reading tests.

The new high-school graduation requirements call for students to take seven end-of-course exams starting with this year’s ninth-graders. Students who do not take those tests cannot graduate unless they meet alternative requirements: They must earn a score on a college entrance exam such as the ACT that allows them to enter college without taking remedial classes, or they must receive an industry certification and score well on a job-skills assessment.

Also, students who don’t take the tests will get a zero, and those scores will be reflected in evaluations of their teachers and in the state report cards for the school and the district, state officials said.

 

So, it can unintentionally hurt your teachers & school – especially if you are an eSchool student. eSchools are graded by the state (just like every other public school), and one of the figures that goes into consideration for their overall grade is the percent of students that took the testing. 

Testing is a challenge, especially for eSchool families, so those figures are already usually lower than a traditional school district.  You need to do what is best for your student, after all you as the parent know best.  But keep in mind those “hidden” consequences when making your decision.