Friday, April 3, 2015

Opt out is not "anti-testing"

Sent to Education Week, April 3, 2015

Contrary to "States Seek Guidance in Face of 'Opt Out' Push" (April 1), the Opt Out movement ( is not "an anti-testing" movement. No education professionals and no parents are opposed to proper assessment. Rather, the opt-out movement opposes excessive and inappropriate testing. Students are now being tested more than any time in history, and the tests are based on unresearched, unreasonable standards. 

There is good reason why the Opt Out movement is so widespread.

Stephen Krashen

Original article:


  1. These comments refer to the full article as published in Education Week:
    I can see it coming. The fed will follow NCLB and place the state with less than 95% compliance in a "high-risk" status, relative to eligibility for funds for Title I (low-income students as well as for those eligible for support under “the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, the School Improvement Grant, programs for English learners, programs for rural schools and migrant education, and programs focused on professional development for teachers.”
    This will alienate those who receive funds from these sources against those parents who are supporting their children in opting out of testing. King has already isolated failure of "Students with disabilities and English-learners” to be given the tests as “a civil rights issue." Will parents of such children (who opt out) be accused of civil rights violations against their own children? Will states challenge the NCLB law in the courts based on their inability, under their own constitutions, to force children to take the tests?
    With regard to the comment (I assume made by a US Department of Education representative) that there is “a basic truth that guides us: "What gets measured, gets managed".” Look where 50-years of trying to manage the environment has gotten us. Plenty of informed observers pointed out back min the 60’s that the direction of that effort should be on ceasing to interfere with the environment’s management of itself. Now, the same group who wanted the government to manage the environment are saying ‘don’t interfere, the environment has the capacity to heal itself”.
    There are two answers to cliff sch’s suggestion that: ‘we collectively still need that data to figure out how the heck to improve things that need it’, is 1) that the data has to have a valid relationship with what you purport to measure (which has yet to be proved or even stated with some conviction; and 2) when the data collection process disrupts what one intends to measure, there is no sense in pursuing its collection.
    Finally, to ‘Mass Dad”, I would point out first that: 1) these tests are much different than the SAT’s (which are voluntary and whose scores are not use to fire teachers and shut down schools) and 2) just because ‘Some colleges allow (a student) to use SAT Subject Test scores to meet minimum subject-based requirements to be eligible to apply for admission’ does not argue for making them mandatory for all students or say, increasing the size and number of SAT tests (to the point where they take valuable time and resources away from actual learning activities) and using an invalid Statistical tool (VAM)” to evaluate teachers, schools and principals.

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