And, now some parents and students are pushing back.
Thousands of high school seniors refused to participate in the high school version of CMAS, which was scheduled for the fall of senior year and required two days of testing. The movement seems to have snowballed around the state, as word spread about the idea of "opting out." Several education advocacy groups have promoted the idea of parent refusal, arguing that students are "more than a test score" and that they should "choose to refuse." In the progressive town of Boulder, students not only refused to participate, but also staged a protest on one of the coldest days of the year, explaining their reasons for "opting out":
Across the state, the number of parent refusals was highly noticeable. In two of the highest performing schools in the state (and, in fact, in the nation), Fairview High School and Cherry Creek High School, hardly any students took the test, as participation was well below five percent. These numbers weren't matched at most schools, but numerous school districts saw surprisingly low compliance with the state mandated tests. The reality is that parents don't have a legal right to "opt out" of tests, but any parent has a legal right to "refuse participation" for any aspect of their children's education. Thus, parents can refuse to allow their child to read a specific book or attend a required assembly or even to be immunized. And, many students who feel like they have been over-tested for their entire school career are beginning to ask if "standardized tests should still be standard."
With the coming PARCC assessments in the spring, the issue of challenging standardized assessments in public education will continue to generate controversy.