The authors of this Education Commission of the States resource report that some states have clear policies on students opting out of state tests, while other states have less clear policies and some states remain silent on this issue—one that has grown in recent years with implementation of new standards-based assessments. The authors provide an overview of different state policies, followed by short state-by-state policy summaries.
This publication addresses a critical issue: a growing trend of parents opting out of having their children take state assessments. The authors use reasonable methods (mostly web-searching) to determine state policies on the opt-out issue, although it could be enhanced by either a scientific survey of state policies or specific phone calls to each state. Nevertheless, the information is timely and important, especially given a recent report that more than 20% of New York state parents have opted their children out of their state assessment. Communications quality is excellent, with easy to understand language and a nice design. Utility should be very high, especially as state and national policymakers grapple with opt-out policies or the lack thereof. Perhaps the greatest takeaway is that state policies are very divergent, which may contribute to a loss in the validity and use of state tests. Evidence of effectiveness is not described, but a reasonable impact on state and national education policies is likely.