With many Oklahoma teachers out of their classrooms during the testing window for administration of Oklahoma standardized tests, there have been questions from parents who now wish to simply opt their child out of testing altogether.
Every state that wants federal money for education, must create a testing plan that meets the requirements for the Every Student Succeeds Act. Our state's plan can be found here. At this link you can find the requirements for state testing according to the federal guidelines. Be prepared. There are lots of them (for only a small portion of federal funds!).
Today (April 9th) State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister released a statement saying that the OSDE would extend the testing window for administration of state tests. Here are the dates as linked to that email.
This means that students may be tested within these days and still meet federal guidelines. In her email, Mrs. Hofmeister says that the test MUST also test 95% of its testable students in order to receive federal funding.
If you would like to OPT YOUR CHILD OUT OF TESTING, simply write your school's administrator (principal usually) a letter explaining that you wish your student to be opted out of state testing. That's it.
Please watch this video from several years ago we did with Niki Jones, an elementary teacher in Tulsa. This will help you understand and to make a decision as to what's best for your family.
Other resources to read are United Opt Out, Fair Test's "Just Say No To Standardized Tests - Why and How To Opt Out", and this piece on Opting Out from the Underground Parent blog.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: This is a link to a letter which Mrs. Hofmeister wrote regarding the opt out of Oklahoma students from testing. She says that districts are "still required to provide a test to the student and document that an attempt was made to test and that the student chose not to participate in the assessment."
This doesn't mean that the child is to sit there with a test in front of them the entire time the class is testing. If the parent has sent an opt-out letter to the school, the student is offered the test, the test is refused and the student is released from classroom. Hopefully, this would not even be necessary as the district administrator would be aware of the Oklahoma Parental Rights Act
It's also important to read and understand the Oklahoma's Parents' Bill of Rights in order for you to advocate for your minor child to the best of your ability.
3rd Grade Graduation
Testing is but one component used to determine 3rd grade graduation. According to the Oklahoma Parent's Center for the Reading Sufficiency Act, "Oklahoma law states a student may qualify for automatic promotion to the fourth grade if one of these four conditions are met. Consequently, students in the 3rd grade are not REQUIRED to take the 3rd grade standardized test to graduate third grade.
8th Grade Graduation
According to state law, students who have not passed their state 8th grade assessments are not eligible for a driver's license in the state. This does not require you to take the state-administered assessment for 8th grade, however. Many homeschooling families make other arrangements. In fact, the OSDE has a list of "Approved Reading Proficiency Tests For Driver's License Or Permit Applications" any of which can be used to substitute for the standardized 8th grade test.
Here's another video brought to my attention today. Please go to 14:33 to hear about the ways in which students may pass 3rd grade.