As the 2016 testing season winds down and educators look toward implementing the new Every Student Succeeds Act, debates over testing policies and practices continue. One of those debates received national attention starting in 2015, led by organized groups of parents removing their children from testing, referred to as the Opt-Out movement.
Using news accounts, research studies, survey results, and state and federal education department documents, Randy Bennett of Educational Testing Service (ETS) examines the Opt-Out movement and ways the education community might respond to it in a recently published report, Opt Out: An Examination of Issues.
“Opt-Out is a complicated and politically charged issue made more so by its social class and racial/ethnic associations,” Bennett said. “It is also an issue that appears to be as much about test use as the tests themselves.”
In the report, Bennett found that students who opted out in the 2014–15 school year were a distinct subpopulation and were geographically concentrated primarily within three states; New York, Rhode Island and Colorado.
Some of the report’s other findings are:
- National polls suggest that the general public opposes opting children out of testing.
- Opt-out levels varied dramatically from one state to the next, from one district to the next, and between high school and lower grades.