- According to preliminary data released Thursday, more than half of Washington state’s high school juniors opted not to take mandated state tests this spring.
- But for grades 3 through 8, more than 95% of students took part in the tests.
- The state plans to release more detailed data in August, with district-by-district numbers, but it’s already clear that there were opt-out hot spots, with some districts topping 70% non-participation.
As results from this testing season trickle in, it’s clear that, at least in spots, the opt-out movement gained traction. Colorado reported higher-than-normal opt-out rates for high schoolers as well, with 83% of seniors taking the exam (below the 95% state and federal standard). In New York state, more than one in 10 students opted out of the exams.
At a seminar in April, federal education chief Arne Duncan said the federal government may have to take action to stem the flood of opt-outs.
For the students who do opt out, the impacts are typically minimal. For Washington students, high performance on state exams means they may avoid a placement exam when entering college classes. But the bigger repercussions are for teachers and schools, who must grapple with the effects on accountability measures. It’s not yet clear if Washington’s low test participation rate at the high school level will have any affect on federal funding.