Responding to a Parent’s Request to Opt their Child Out of Testing

Responding to a Parent’s Request to Opt their Child Out of TestingI’ve been seeing news stories recently about parents who wish to opt their children out of testing. Some voice concerns that testing can’t measure the things they care about regarding their children’s learning; others are concerned about the stress it puts on children and their teachers.

These are fair questions to call, and I applaud any parent who takes an active role in his or her child’s education. That partnership is needed in every classroom. But it’s also important for parents to understand what happens if they opt their child out – what the impact can be to teaching and learning, and to logistical and legal obligations of the district.

That’s why I wanted to highlight this recent article from Hometown Source in Minnesota. It’s a column by Joe Nathan, a former school teacher and administrator, who now directs the Center for School Change. He queried superintendents and other administrators from around Minnesota on how they address opt out requests. Their thoughtful answers make good reading and will, I think, help other districts formulate a response. Here’s a sample from the article:

Les Fujitake, Bloomington superintendent, told me via email: “Our district will share the following to help parents make an informed decision:

– Parents that opt out of state tests (such as the MCA, MTAS, and Modified assessments) will lose the ability to compare individual levels of proficiency to state and national standards as well as learning rates compared to a state norm.

– Parents that opt out of local assessments (such as the NWEA MAP tests) will lose the ability to compare individual student rates of learning to a national norm.

– Parents that opt out of state and local assessments will lose the ability to help track their children’s progress on their respective pathway to graduation.

I’d be interested to know if you’re receiving similar requests, and if so, how you’re handling them. I invite you to leave a comment below explaining your approach.

Photo credit to Luxt Design.


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