NYS Education Department – We Have a Problem: 200,000 Students Opted Out of Standardized Tests This Year!

Dear Commons Community,

The New York Times is reporting that more than 200,000 third through eighth graders sat out New York’s standardized tests this year in a sign of increasing resistance to testing as more states make them harder to pass.

The number of students declining to take the exams quadrupled from the year before, and represented 20 percent of all those eligible to be tested, according to data from the State Education Department. The statistic not only showed the growing strength of the “opt out” movement against standardized testing, but also put immediate pressure on state and federal officials, who must now decide whether to penalize schools and districts with low participation rates.

While opt-out groups had closely estimated, based on surveys, how many students declined to take the test, the figures released on Wednesday were the nearest to an official count. The Education Department said that about 900,000 of the 1.1 million eligible test-takers took the exams, while the rest skipped without a “known valid reason,” such as an illness.

Hurrah for parents and students who made the “opt out” decision. Standardized testing in this country has become an obsession with policymakers and their corporate supporters. It is all about accountability and adds little to the education of children.



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