Anti-Test Movement Slows to a Crawl

July 24, 2018

Just a few short years ago, there were real questions about whether Congress would ditch annual, standardized assessments as part of a makeover of the nation’s main K-12 education law. At the same time, parents were increasingly choosing to opt their children out of standardized tests.

But the Every Student Succeeds Act ultimately kept the tests in place. And since then, at least some of the steam has gone out of the opt-out movement in states such as New Jersey and New York, considered hotbeds of anti-testing fervor.

New Jersey’s participation rate in the mathematics assessment increased from 86 percent in 2014-15, to 93 percent in 2015-16, and 95 percent last year. The state education agency has made the move to choose a new statewide assessment, and has done extensive listening sessions with parents.

“I thought ESSA was an improvement. The punitive nature was not there” to the same extent as under NCLB, said Julia Sass Rubin, a parent in central New Jersey who has been active in the opt-out movement. She’s not happy schools could still get penalized for having a high opt-out rate, but “at least you’re leaving it up to the state to decide what to do about it.”

Education Week, July 23, 2018

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