Are You In on Opting Out?

Levi B CavenerThe new Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium has been taking a lot of heat during the legislative session recently.  District superintendents recently met with the State Department of Ed to push back against the test, and even a State Senator has been vocal about his opposition to the assessment.

Idahoans for Local Education recently launched an Opt Out movement for SBAC and ISAT in Idaho.  Stephanie Zimmerman, point person on the project, listed the rationale for taking such an action including:

  • Teachers leaving the profession because of curriculum restraints due to teaching to test standards.
  • Teachers being unfairly penalized in their evaluation due to low scores. (See our post spelling out how such a practice is particularly punitive for teachers working with special education students, English language learners, and “at-risk” youth in alternative schools).
  • Parents pulling students out of school due a perceived loss of creativity in their child’s curriculum.
  • The amount of time and logistical hurdles of performing the assessment itself.
  • The financial cost in performing the assessment on top of an already strapped education budget.

Zimmerman also did some digging to ensure such an action would not result in punitive action against the student by the school or district.  She posted a (curiously unnamed) district Superintendent’s response to her on this topic:

The answer?  Not only is it ok, but the Superintendent is personally pulling his own children out of the testing.  He even provided a form for precisely this purpose.

Idaho’s Promise has also been active on this issue and will be hosting the film Standardized on January 30th.  The film explores the culture of high stakes testing and the impact exams like SBAC and ISAT has on classrooms.  Go to our page for more information about the event.

What do you think?  Take our survey below on your thoughts about opting out.


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