"Opting Out" of Standardized Testing

In recent months, many administrators have asked about parental requests to "opt out" their students from taking standardized tests. The requests are reflective of a national movement by certain groups opposed to such testing for a variety of reasons. A quick Google search unearths several anti-testing groups whose objections are rooted in a wide-range of beliefs, from resistance to NCLB to the parent-perceived loss of student self-esteem resulting from taking standardized tests. Many of these groups additionally argue that tests take up too much classroom time and cost too much, all while not being a good indicator of a child's intelligence or ability. As a result, a wave of protests and parental opt out requests is just beginning to crest.

Irrespective of ideological motivation, the issue squarely before administrators is whether these opposing parents may permissibly choose to opt out their children from standardized testing. While there exists no definitive answer in the law at present, there are strong indicators which suggest that parental opt out requests are not viable.

Perhaps most revealing in the absence of case law addressing the issue is the basis upon which parents are making their requests for testing opt out. In most cases, parents have relied on provisions of FERPA or the Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment (PPRA). Read more.