Behind the Headline: 20% of New York State Students Opted Out of Standardized Tests This Year

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20% of New York State Students Opted Out of Standardized Tests This Year
New York Times | 8/13/15

Behind the Headline
Public Supports Testing, Opposes Opt-Out, Opposes Federal Intervention
Education Next blog | 7/28/15

New York state education officials said Wednesday that more than 200,000 students declined to take the state’s standardized tests this year, which represents 20 percent of those students eligible to be tested.

Elizabeth Harris writes in the New York Times that

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.

Harris notes that education officials “framed the opt-out movement as more prevalent in white middle- and upper-middle-class districts, with Long Island a particular hot spot.” Students with lower scores on the test last year were more likely to opt out of taking the test this year than students with higher scores.

Early results from the forthcoming Education Next survey reveal that the public generally opposes the view that families should have the right to “opt out” of state t ests.  In a blog entry, Paul E. Peterson and Martin R. West write

We found little public sympathy for the “opt-out” point of view.  Only 25% of the public like the idea, while 59% oppose it, the remainder taking a neutral position.  Among parents themselves, just 32% favored the opt-out approach, while 52% opposed it.  Fifty-seven percent of the teachers also reacted negatively to the idea, with only 32% lending it support.

— Education Next

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