The time of year for standardized state testing has arrived and if you have school-age children, there’s no way to avoid this topic. Everyone has strong opinions when it comes to the issue of “opting out,” so how do you decide what’s best for your child?
To help you make the best decision for your child, let me debunk some common parental concerns when it comes to opting out:
Will opting out spoil my child or teach them to avoid responsibility?
No. State tests are not real life situations and many parents and educators feel they are poorly constructed and developmentally inappropriate. You can teach your child to be responsible on a daily basis by having them do chores, manage more of their morning and evening routine, and face the natural consequences of practical slip-ups (i.e., forgotten permission slips, lunch bags, homework assignments).
Will opting out leave my child unprepared for future tests?
No. Our public education system includes plenty of opportunities for students to practice taking tests on a weekly basis in the classroom. Your child’s preparedness for future SAT or ACT exams has nothing to do with how often he or she sat for state tests starting in grade school. In fact, hearing year after year that scores don’t matter and that there’s no way to prepare may set a negative precedent and make it even harder for kids who take state tests to gear up when preparation does count and scores do matter.
Will there be negative consequences at school if my child opts out?
No. State laws vary, but national laws protect a parent’s right to opt their child out of standardized tests. Furthermore, even states that threaten to change district funding if opt-out rates exceed a certain percentage have never acted on those warnings. Might you ruffle a few feathers or get an ear-full from an administrator if you opt your child out? Sure. Will opting your child out endanger their standing as a student or their ability to move on to the next grade? Absolutely not.
After you’ve made your decision, here are a few things to keep in mind:
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