It’s been a while since we’ve had to talk about testing and/or opt outs. I bet you’ve enjoyed that break as much as I have. Sadly, though, the break’s over. I saw an article this morning that I feel compelled to pontificate about, and so pontificate I shall. If the thought of another testing-related blog post makes you feel physically ill, I won’t judge you for excusing yourself now.
I opened my email this morning (yes, five-year-olds have email) to discover a story from Chalkbeat Colorado about how low state test participation rates have called school and district ratings into question. From that article:
State education department officials putting together the latest annual school quality ratings have flagged more than half of the state’s districts and one-third of its schools for test participation below the federally required minimum of 95 percent. The ratings are preliminary, and districts and schools may appeal before they are finalized this winter.
While districts that fell below that participation mark will not face negative consequences under Colorado law, state officials are urging the public to proceed with caution in considering ratings in places with high testing opt-out rates.
Some school leaders and advocates are crying foul, however, arguing that it’s irresponsible to rate schools based on incomplete data. Meanwhile, longtime critics of the ratings are seizing on the development to renew calls to reform the system.
In other words, low participation on state tests—largely driven by the opt-out movement—are making it difficult to see how, exactly, some public schools and districts in Colorado are performing. Continue Reading »