opting out

In my state, we are freakin’ about the SBAC test.  Parents are blogging and emailing and petitioning to opt out of it for their children. I’m getting lots of questions about it as our testing window looms on the calendar for next week.

as a mom, I get it. You don’t want to put your child through 8 hrs of digital confusion and badly structured test questions, as well as the keyboarding. This is torture for students with disabilities like dyslexia.

however, as a teacher, I want the data! I want to know how I can better my teaching, how my students can best achieve with the Common Core Standards.  I want that baseline data to reflect our hard work in third grade.

If parents opt out, what message are they truly giving their kids? Will those same children want to persevere the next year?

Some of these children are being coddled and sheltered from things that are ” too hard” already in my class.  As a result they have no stamina and they literally break down when things don’t come easy for them.

opting out feels like dropping out- setting a poor example.  I feel like if you set up an 8 year old to opt out of a test because it might be too hard, you are setting him/her up to opt out of life challenges.

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7 thoughts on “opting out

  1. I really appreciate what you are saying here. Your writing conveys many excellent points as you developed a strong piece with solid evidence. I agree with you about the message some parents are sending about perseverance. Well said. Thank you for sharing!!

  2. Wow — a real conundrum for parents and educators — how to change the system in place that could give you important information but is built on potentially bad assumptions of gauging learning …. we are a PARCC state, but our school district has not yet made the transition (prob next year) so we are not being faced with those same challenges. Yet. We will. Soon.
    Good luck
    Kevin

  3. You have certainly summed up the challenge of these tests. In NYS, we have the English Language Arts test. A multi-day grades 3-8 experience that while I wish is measured what we are teaching, I am not sure it does. It is a secure test so we can’t analyze, determine content, measure reading levels or even read through it! Some passages will be used and others are field test items. Some questions and passages will be thrown out they say! It’s frustrating for us all.

  4. Hmmm… Tests should be diagnostic, I agree but it’s only one measure and sadly, it’s taking on too much attention. As a teacher I needed a rich,diverse set of assessments .

  5. As a long time teacher, I knew where my kids were without all the testing. Most of the testing told me exactly what I already knew. I wanted hard work to give them to advance them, not hard tests to defeat them. My kids were farther ahead before the testing era began.

  6. I can understand both sides of the argument, but really I wish parents could ease up and consider testing as practice. Their children will have lots of tests. Even if they opt out of some, they will most likely want to get a driver’s license (a test). Colleges and jobs give tests. Just get lots of practice taking different kinds of tests so none of them are that big a deal. We give them too much weight.
    Also, I applaud your wanting the info. from the test! That’s the point- to make education better!

  7. There is so much controversy about all the testing! I agree that it may have gotten to be too much, but I also see your point. Is letting students opt out sending the right message, especially to them. The conversation should continue!

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