More Students Refuse Smarter Balanced in California, Washington

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I ran across a couple of local stories out west about more students refusing to take the Smarter Balanced test, and I’m not talking small numbers here.  Kids are opting-out in droves.

From California – Palo Alto Online:

About 50 percent of the junior classes at both of Palo Alto’s public high schools decided to opt out of the new Smarter Balanced Assessments this week, concerned about the two days of standardized testing scheduled the week before Advanced Placement and SAT exams.

Gunn High School junior Hayley Krolik said she first heard about the opt-out option from a classmate who posted an article on the junior class’ Facebook page: “More California parents exercise right to skip standardized test.”

Movements to opt out of the new Common Core State Standards testing, which for the first time this year will return results to school districts and students, have popped up across the country for various reasons, from protesting an emphasis on standardized testing to the new, more rigorous standards themselves, which some critics view as a top-down approach to education.

But in Palo Alto, it was about stress — unrelated to the exam itself — and timing. AP testing begins at Gunn and Palo Alto High on Monday, May 4, for juniors and seniors. Some students are also taking SAT tests this weekend.

It’s clear that kids are being over tested in California.

The same is true in Washington where the The News Tribune out of Tacoma, WA reports:

About half of the juniors at Curtis High School in University Place are refusing to take new state tests, according to the school district. But most cite test overload — upcoming Advanced Placement and SAT tests — rather than opposition to the new tests themselves that has driven protests elsewhere, according to officials.

University Place Superintendent Patti Banks said that, as of Monday, 52 percent of the district’s juniors had filed refusal-to-test forms, which require parental permission. One report circulating on Facebook stated that 85 percent of Curtis juniors were opting out of the tests. Banks said that number was inflated.

State testing began at the high school Monday. The new state tests are known as the SBAC, because they were developed by the multi-state Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.

Protests over the SBAC, as well as similar tests based on the Common Core standards adopted by Washington and other states, have prompted anti-testing boycotts in other states. And last week, every junior at Seattle’s Nathan Hale High School skipped SBAC testing, along with significant numbers at several other Seattle high schools.

2 thoughts on “More Students Refuse Smarter Balanced in California, Washington

  1. I will add a touch of backstory on the 2 districts with the large number of opt out / refusals in CA. There are 2 high schools where this has taken place. The first is in Palo Alto which is an extraordinarily affluent and well educated community. To add some context, this is within a stones throw of Stanford University. The second location is in Southern California in Palos Verdes Peninsula, which is another very affluent and well educated community. Long story short based on what I am seeing is that these 2 communities are on the issue due to who and where the are. Side note is that no one in going to start questioning and pushing back on very wealthy parents in these 2 areas. That is quite different from the general population in middle and lower middle class communities. I sincerely hope that next year there will be more than my 2 daughters refusing testing in our schools. That is going to take a lot of legwork between now and then. These 2 communities give me hope though, and I have my fingers crossed and my door knocking shoes on.


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