A reader told me that her daughter was showing signs of test anxiety because her elementary school was already in the midst of prepping for the April CRCT.
So, the parent asked, “Can we legally opt-out?”
No, says the state Department of Education, which sent me this response: “Given both state and federal law require all students test, we encourage parents to discuss their concerns with their local districts. Some districts have policies above and beyond state policies.”
When I last wrote about testing concerns, a parent posted that Georgia students can get around taking the CRCT, although the subterfuge seemed extreme to me and likely to cause the child even more stress.
The parent wrote, “All that is required is that you withdraw them from school and home school them through the two-week window of testing. As long as the student had done well in all core subjects the entire year, there is no way for a school to justify holding a child back. Know your rights. If there are problems, there is an appeal board that usually consists of the parents, teacher, principal. We did opt out last year. Took child out of 8th grade for week of testing and the following week (used to retest) and then re-enrolled child after two weeks of home schooling.”
I am not sure how many kids would be comfortable formally withdrawing from school for two weeks.
But should there be a process under which students can win a reprieve from testing? Should the decision be based on student performance? Should students with exemplary grades be exempted from testing, as they often are in college classes?
FairTest has information on the growing opt-out movement.
I am pulling out a comment from this post from our resident testing expert Jerry Eads:
Most of the entries above assume that the CRCTs and EOCTs are a measure of something worthwhile. Au contraire. The tests only tell us whether a student “met” or “exceeded” totally arbitrary points on one minimum competency test that has one thing in common with the space program: low bid. The information sent back to the schools is of virtually no use to teachers or students as to what they might do better; the tests are of no use for instruction.
For too many students, the tests have driven schooling to be nothing more than trying to memorize factoids to regurgitate and then forget as quickly as possible. Learning quickly becomes drudgery instead of the joy that it should be. Effectively, students learn virtually nothing on the way to becoming citizens. Students (and teachers) learn to hate school, radically increasing the dropout rate for students and the attrition rate for teachers (particularly the good ones).
By the way, the ONLY purpose for the SAT and ACT is to predict FIRST year survival in college, nothing more. Even though they are two of the best made tests in the world, they don’t do that very well at all, and are of hardly any use to colleges in guessing whether a student will be successful.
I think it’s a great idea for parents to keep their kids away from the state minimum competency tests. Perhaps sooner rather than later the state would end this cruel enterprise that does little more than drain resources and worthwhile learning from schools.
–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog