By Sarah Tully, EdSource

Parent David Whitley and Linda Cone, a retired teacher, protest outside of Yorba Linda High School in Yorba Linda on May 6, 2015.

Junior Hayley Krolik of Palo Alto was simply too busy and stressed out to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments.

The 17-year-old student at one of the nation’s highest-ranked schools had two Advanced Placement tests coming up. She was taking the SATs on Saturday. Plus, she was losing out on study time because of a youth group retreat the previous weekend.

So, when Hayley found out she could legally and easily skip state testing, she asked her parents to sign her out – as about half of her 11th-grade classmates also did at Gunn High School.

Few California schools have reported high opt-out rates on the Smarter Balanced Assessments, new tests based on nationally developed Common Core State Standards that students are taking for the first time this spring.

But four schools in the state identified by EdSource Today with at least half of their students opting out have similarities: They are all high-achieving high schools in affluent areas. Many of the juniors, the only high school grade required to take the assessments, told school officials that they preferred to spend time studying for AP tests, SATs or other school-related activities because the Smarter Balanced tests don’t directly affect their lives. The high schools are Gunn, Palo Alto, Palos Verdes and Calabasas.

One other high school, where more than one-third of students are low-income, also had about 40 percent of juniors opt out: Westmoor High School in Daly City, where 178 students skipped testing after students found out it was an option, according to Superintendent Thomas Minshew of Jefferson Union High School District.

Largely, the decisions to opt out had nothing to do with negative opinions about the Common Core standards themselves.

“I thought it was the easiest thing to do because I had so much coming up,” Hayley said. “I didn’t see how spending my time taking these tests would be really beneficial.”

In other parts of the country the reasons for opting out have usually been far different, including general opposition to the Common Core standards and how scores on tests aligned with them are being used. In New York, teachers unions have urged parents to exempt their children from the tests, and nearly 200,000 children have been able to avoid taking them.

Rules on opting out of student testing vary by state, with some – like California – easily allowing parents to sign out their kids and others forbidding it.

“It is not civil disobedience in California because it’s legally authorized,” said Bob Schaeffer, a spokesman for the National Center for Fair & Open Testing, or FairTest. “So it’s not been seen as an organizing tool in the same way (as in some other states).”

California high schools

In California, four of the high schools with high opt-out rates are in wealthy areas with highly educated residents.

The two Palo Alto schools are in Silicon Valley near Stanford University. Calabasas, north of Los Angeles, is where the Kardashians call home and singer Justin Bieber once lived. Palos Verdes, a peninsula community in Los Angeles County, boasts ocean-view homes that average $1.5 million. Three of the schools ranked gold, or top 3 percent, on the U.S. News and World Report list of best high schools.

In Calabasas and Palos Verdes, the seed of the opt-out idea started with Common Core opponents who spread the word about parent exemptions. But it caught on among 11th-graders who wanted to skip for personal reasons, school officials said.

At Gunn High School, one 11th-grader posted an article on a class Facebook page. Others started asking about the possibility of skipping the tests and many decided to convince their parents to sign off, Hayley said. Parents also shared information on their own junior-class email list.

At Calabasas High, about 70 percent of the junior class initially skipped testing largely because it was scheduled close to AP and other tests. But most students are now planning on taking the makeup test at the end of May, said Mary Schillinger, assistant superintendent of Las Virgenes Unified School District. As of last week, 184 students had signed up for the makeup test, which will bring up the participation rate to between 70 and 75 percent.

Some Westmoor students reported that they wanted to study for AP tests. But the Smarter Balanced Assessments came a few weeks before the AP tests were scheduled, leading Daly City’s Minshew to believe students just wanted to skip the tests.

Common Core protests

While only a few schools in California are known to have high opt-out rates, pockets of Common Core opponents scattered throughout the state are trying to boost those numbers by holding protests and handing out forms outside of schools.

In Orange County, for example, a loose-knit group of about 30 retirees and parents of public, private and home-schooled children is making the rounds outside of campuses with buckets of opt-out forms and signs. On a recent Wednesday morning, protesters leaned into cars to give documents to parents pulling up to Yorba Linda High School, about three miles from the Richard Nixon Library and Museum.

“That is the most effective way of fighting Common Core – not having kids take the test,” said Linda Cone, a retired teacher who wore a sandwich-board sign stating, “Forms Here Opt Out.”

It’s unclear how many parents end up turning in those opt-out forms. Placentia-Yorba Linda Unified School District has yet to gather opt-out numbers. In nearby Newport-Mesa Unified School District, where some of the protesters live, 30 parents had turned in opt-out forms as of last week.

Another reason why it is hard to figure out how many parents in California have opted out of the new tests, officially known as the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance, is that the California Department of Education hasn’t collected parent exemption numbers from districts, which will submit them after testing is completed.

Student exemptions

At the five high schools, the students often convinced their parents to sign the forms, instead of the parents taking the initiative.

In Palo Alto, Lori Krolik, Hayley’s mother, said she trusted her daughter’s judgment that she could better spend her time staying home to study for AP and SAT tests. But Krolik made sure her daughter had a plan on how she would spend the time.

“I wasn’t trying to send the message about the Common Core,” Krolik said.

Susan Hooker, the parent of a Calabasas 11th-grader, said her son opted out because his friends were also skipping the test. Hooker said in an email that she has no “philosophical objections” to the test and her son will take the makeup.

It’s unclear what, if any, consequences there will be to opting out from the test.

Schillinger said Calabasas High could lose some state funds because the campus receives funding based on Average Daily Attendance and students who didn’t take the test skipped school those days. Students who opted out in the two Palo Alto schools also stayed out on those days, but school officials don’t believe they will lose funds as a result. Some students at Palos Verdes High, who skipped the test, attended school on those days.

The federal government, under the No Child Left Behind law, requires that 95 percent of students take state tests. If they fall below that number, the schools are labeled as failing to make “Adequate Yearly Progress,” with the possibility of a range of progressively harsh sanctions kicking in as a result.

But sanctions are unlikely, as they only apply to schools that receive federal funds for low-income students, called Title 1 funds.

More affluent schools, like four of those with high opt-out rates, don’t receive Title 1 funds. However, Westmoor High, which has about 37 percent low-income students, could be at risk of losing some Title 1 funds.

Superintendent Minshew said he is worried about possibly losing funds, but there is nothing he can do about it because parents have the right to opt out their children.

The schools might be excluded from future rankings on the U.S. News & World Report list of best high schools, which uses state test scores. If those scores or similar results are unavailable, the schools would be ineligible under the current methodology, said Sophia Sherry, a spokeswoman for U.S. News & World Report.

Gunn High School ranked 26th in the state and 157th in the nation on the list released last week. “I am concerned about the lack of data we will have about our students’ ability to show proficiency of the Common Core State Standards,” said Principal Denise Herrmann in an email in response to a question about the U.S. News & World Report rankings.

Not all parents sympathized with students opting out of the tests at their schools. Laura Ainsworth, co-president of the Parent Faculty Club at Calabasas High, whose daughter is a senior there, said she worries how the high number of opt-outs will affect funding and the school’s reputation. Some teachers ended up with two students in class to take the tests. Other students said they wanted to sleep in, while others decided to study for AP tests, Ainsworth said.

“You might not like it, but it’s a part of life.… You just have to juggle and be mature about it, especially if you are a junior in high school,” Ainsworth said. “You can’t opt out when you get out of school and into the workplace. Real life is coming pretty fast.”

Clarification: A previous version of this story included the incorrect month of testing at Westmoor High School. This story was updated to include the correct timing of the Smarter Balanced Assessments.


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  1. Percival 2 months ago2 months ago

    Deciding what is necessary and not bowing to pressure is rather adult. If these tests don’t impress a college of repute, it seems mature to put time into other tests: Colleges (like Amherst College) are also impressed by Charity and other time commitments. Suck it up and take my dang test sounds a little self serving and passive-aggressive.

  2. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    "Junior Hayley Krolik of Palo Alto was simply too busy and stressed out to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments." So says reporter Sara Tully who seems to labor under the effort to relate Hayley's busy student life as her rationale not to participate in the testing rather than a politically-inspired opt-out decision. At first glance this might make sense, but it isn't so simple. From the outset, Ms. Tully portrays Hayley's non-participation as a simple matter … Read More

    “Junior Hayley Krolik of Palo Alto was simply too busy and stressed out to take the Smarter Balanced Assessments.” So says reporter Sara Tully who seems to labor under the effort to relate Hayley’s busy student life as her rationale not to participate in the testing rather than a politically-inspired opt-out decision. At first glance this might make sense, but it isn’t so simple.

    From the outset, Ms. Tully portrays Hayley’s non-participation as a simple matter of convenience for busy, stressed out students, spinning the decision as stemming from the purely personal and ignoring the fact that the choice not to participate has always been present, but is only now being utilized as a result of the national opt-out movement and the notoriety its success has enjoyed. Though the opt-out data is sketchy in California and likely to remain so, it appears as if only certain schools have been substantially affected, indicating that factors other than the omnipresent stresses are at work. Ms. Tully ignores the fact that students all over the state and country have to labor under these stresses and that they never opted-out before the opt-out movement began. Why is that? The popularity of the opt-out movement has made non-participation acceptable. But opting-out is a political movement at it “common core”.

    That said, not every family that opts-out does so for the same reasons, though some reasons prevail. Families may be against tests and the Common Core for various reasons – a dislike of national standards, the undemocratic CCSS development, the coercive adoption tactics, the Obama administration, the corporate participation of for-profit testing interets, the inadequate tests themselves and/or the scoring of them as well as the overall uninspired implementation of CC instruction, testing and accountability. What the opt-outs all have in common is the fact that they took the tests in the past, but elected not to take them now.

    It may be that the groundswell of criticism against Common Core and its standardized tests as exemplified by the opt-out movement has nurtured the conditions for some families to begin to view these tests as optional. If that is so, it represents a new attitude towards standardized testing and, while not overly political in nature, the choice not to participate may be made possible by the knowledge that opting out confer several advantages whether it is to make a political statement or to prioritize other activities as more important. Whatever the individual gripe, the effect is the same: These tests and the standards they represent are no longer viewed as a requirement for students. They’ve lost their cache as a necessity of schooling for the simple reason that they’ve been badly mishandled. It’s ironic that the cadre of individuals who wrote the standards and failed to secure the participation of the stakeholders in doing so are now seeing their efforts diminished by that same nonparticipation.

  3. Barry Yudess 1 year ago1 year ago

    I'm involved with the opt-out movement in Palos Verdes. The administration in our district is spinning it that students opted out to save time but parents are the one's who did the opting out. Not only are they concerned about the huge waste of time because these test count for nothing but even more worrisome is the data collection and data mining of our kid's information. This may all be a moot point if what … Read More

    I’m involved with the opt-out movement in Palos Verdes. The administration in our district is spinning it that students opted out to save time but parents are the one’s who did the opting out. Not only are they concerned about the huge waste of time because these test count for nothing but even more worrisome is the data collection and data mining of our kid’s information. This may all be a moot point if what is happening in Missouri comes to pass in California. From the Missouri Court: Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) Violates The U.S. Constitution https://seattleducation2010.wordpress.com/2015/02/25/from-the-missouri-court-smarter-balanced-assessment-sbac-violates-the-u-s-constitution/.

  4. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    Not to belabor the point I just want to say how enlightening I found your comments on this issue and to remark that it is understandable that you, as a called-upon testing expert, would be reluctant to express definitive opinions on the Common Core which might have the negative effect on the perception of your impartiality.

    Thanks for your elucidating commentary.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      My comment below was addressed to Doug.

  5. CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

    Comment from a teacher friend whose students were overwhelmed by the complexities of the current tests, including the technological logistics: “First test today. Nearly 2.5 straight hours. Most truly gave it their best. Some gave up and just put random answers after the first half hour.”

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

      Another teacher friend in a district where the testing was earlier said she felt like she was torturing her students. Seems likely that opt-outs will increase if these are the reports from real-life classrooms.

  6. AcalanesDistrict 1 year ago1 year ago

    Opt out in California is more prevalent than is being reported. My kids high schools are testing this week, and first hand reports are than 25-30% of juniors are not present in the testing sessions.

    Replies

    • Sarah Tully 1 year ago1 year ago

      We reported on the high opt-out rates that we could verify. If there are other schools we should check, please let me know. My email is stully@edsource.org. Thank you! Read More

      We reported on the high opt-out rates that we could verify. If there are other schools we should check, please let me know. My email is stully@edsource.org. Thank you!

  7. joan 1 year ago1 year ago

    While NY State woke up 2 years ago, CA is just beginning. We are 2 years behind them.250,000 opted out this year. CA created the 'Gold Standards' in 1997. We have the best Math Curricular framework in the Nation. It was just tossed to comply with the state adoption of Common Core. Standards that are copyrighted by the group that wrote them- the National Governors Association, a lobbyist trade association. CA cannot change the standards w/o their … Read More

    While NY State woke up 2 years ago, CA is just beginning. We are 2 years behind them.250,000 opted out this year.

    CA created the ‘Gold Standards’ in 1997.
    We have the best Math Curricular framework in the Nation. It was just tossed to comply with the state adoption of Common Core. Standards that are copyrighted by the group that wrote them- the National Governors Association, a lobbyist trade association.
    CA cannot change the standards w/o their permission.

    Why would anyone throw out what CA professionals wrote?

    Smarter Balanced gives computer adaptive tests. Each child is given their own test. How do you compare achievement of one child to another with different tests?

    Smarter Balanced is cloaked in secrecy housed at the UCLA School of Education. Try calling the offices and see if you can get one shred of information. In September 2014, SBAC locked out everyone. The Exec Committee is making decisions for our Districts and our children w/o any transparency whatsoever.

    Who wants a child to participate in that kind of testing scenario?

    Replies

    • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

      "How do you compare achievement of one child to another with different tests?" I do not know. But a friend of mine told me that her students took the Performance Test (the non-adaptive part) and there were four separate types of essays the students had to write in the same class. One child had to write a persuasive essay. The other had to write a narrative. Some had to write explanatory essays that asked the kids … Read More

      “How do you compare achievement of one child to another with different tests?”

      I do not know. But a friend of mine told me that her students took the Performance Test (the non-adaptive part) and there were four separate types of essays the students had to write in the same class. One child had to write a persuasive essay. The other had to write a narrative. Some had to write explanatory essays that asked the kids to write persuasively??? Some had two short paragraphs that they had to write while others had four. There seems to be a fairness issue here as well.

      It is hard for me to wrap my mind around how anyone can compare achievement this way. Some types of writing are just easier to do than others, yet it seems that they are all considered equal here. While I like that students now have to write paragraphs and essays, I am totally confused here. Maybe it is based on how they achieved during the adaptive part???

      • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

        it is possible to conduct "equivalency" studies to make scores from differing essays comparable for purposes of aggregate data and comparison of scores between groups. It is true the "raw" scores of an individual student may be different based on type of essay they get, but if those "raw" scores are adjusted for equivalency before reported they the individual scores are also comparable (at least in theory). However, I don't know if Smarter Balanced is … Read More

        it is possible to conduct “equivalency” studies to make scores from differing essays comparable for purposes of aggregate data and comparison of scores between groups. It is true the “raw” scores of an individual student may be different based on type of essay they get, but if those “raw” scores are adjusted for equivalency before reported they the individual scores are also comparable (at least in theory). However, I don’t know if Smarter Balanced is using equivalency adjustments when scoring their tests . . . . just haven’t seen this issue addressed in any of the published Smarter Balanced material.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Doug, it ought to be obvious to anyone who's watching that there's a scoring issue when different "standardized" tests are administered to different students. TheMorrigan may be the most recent, but not the only one to have pointed this out on Ed Source over the last year. And that issue also includes scorer bias. As a test developer, what is your best guess as to why this "clear and present danger" is not … Read More

          Doug, it ought to be obvious to anyone who’s watching that there’s a scoring issue when different “standardized” tests are administered to different students. TheMorrigan may be the most recent, but not the only one to have pointed this out on Ed Source over the last year. And that issue also includes scorer bias. As a test developer, what is your best guess as to why this “clear and present danger” is not addressed in the SBAC literature? Would you say that equivalency studies as an additional step in the scoring process increases the margin of error compared with a test that doesn’t require them?

          Your input on Ed Source was invaluable to me in coming to the decision to opt-out. Can’t help but to point out the irony.

          • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don -- The use of equivalency studies and equivalency adjustments for scoring does indeed reduce or compromise a strict standardization protocol for a large scale testing program, as you note, and affect the strict accuracy or comparability of results somewhat at the aggregate data level and likely moreso at the individual student level. But, to some degree, use of this psychometric tactic is needed when real world desires and needs have to be taken into … Read More

            Don — The use of equivalency studies and equivalency adjustments for scoring does indeed reduce or compromise a strict standardization protocol for a large scale testing program, as you note, and affect the strict accuracy or comparability of results somewhat at the aggregate data level and likely moreso at the individual student level. But, to some degree, use of this psychometric tactic is needed when real world desires and needs have to be taken into account . . . . in the specific case cited by The Morrigan, the desire by content folks to involve several types of writing in the assessment. For another example of use of equivalency studies and adjustments, most large scale testing programs use multiple “alternate forms” of tests in response to test security concerns, and in response to exposure of individual test questions when test administration times are not strictly controlled. So, yes, your point is valid, but as part of the inevitable pros and cons that go into large scale assessment programs, frequently what is judged as a minor reduction or compromise in strict standardization protocol is chosen in favor of what is judged to be a better way to implement the program. It is part of the “art” of developing large scale tests . . . as contrasted to pure statistical “science.”

            • TheMorrigan 1 year ago1 year ago

              Whether or not the different writing genres can be theoretically compared and teased out to determine equivalency, there is still a huge fairness elephant in the room. Older students will figure that out immediately and it will only increase numbers for the opt-out movement. If one student gets to write a story and two short-answer expository paragraphs while the one sitting next to him who is just as smart as him has to write … Read More

              Whether or not the different writing genres can be theoretically compared and teased out to determine equivalency, there is still a huge fairness elephant in the room. Older students will figure that out immediately and it will only increase numbers for the opt-out movement.

              If one student gets to write a story and two short-answer expository paragraphs while the one sitting next to him who is just as smart as him has to write an argumentative essay and four short answer expository paragraphs, they will talk about it and that will spread. In the end, what students tell their parents about this testing will not be good and it will render their scores meaningless even with all the equivalency studies that have been performed.

            • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

              The Morrigan -- Your view should be part of the mix considered not by the folks executing the assessment program (the scoring vendor, in this cas) but rather by the folks designing and developing the testing program (Smarter Balanced) and the ultimate decision-makers for each statewide testing program (CDE and SBE folks in California). From my perspective the legitimate issue you raise should have been vetted in public by the CDE and SBE, but to … Read More

              The Morrigan — Your view should be part of the mix considered not by the folks executing the assessment program (the scoring vendor, in this cas) but rather by the folks designing and developing the testing program (Smarter Balanced) and the ultimate decision-makers for each statewide testing program (CDE and SBE folks in California). From my perspective the legitimate issue you raise should have been vetted in public by the CDE and SBE, but to my knowledge it wasn’t . . . .

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          So, Doug, you're saying the SBAC test as designed would need to employ equivalency studies resulting in equivalency adjustments, but you've seen no indication that they will be employed. That is a mystery. If you are indeed correct that no mention has been made of it we can assume that 1. no studies will be made or that 2. studies will be made secretively. It seems rather late in the test cycle to get … Read More

          So, Doug, you’re saying the SBAC test as designed would need to employ equivalency studies resulting in equivalency adjustments, but you’ve seen no indication that they will be employed. That is a mystery. If you are indeed correct that no mention has been made of it we can assume that 1. no studies will be made or that 2. studies will be made secretively. It seems rather late in the test cycle to get further change in the protocol should such studies now be announced.

          • Doug McRae 1 year ago1 year ago

            Don -- All I am saying is that the apparent lack of comparability described by Morrigan is a legitimate issue that should be addressed by SBAC and/or CDE, to provide public credibility for their test. I'd add there are many additional concerns re the validity reliability and fairness of the Smarter Balanced tests for California for which information has not been released by SBAC / UCLA or CDE/SBE prior to "operational" administration of SBAC tests … Read More

            Don — All I am saying is that the apparent lack of comparability described by Morrigan is a legitimate issue that should be addressed by SBAC and/or CDE, to provide public credibility for their test. I’d add there are many additional concerns re the validity reliability and fairness of the Smarter Balanced tests for California for which information has not been released by SBAC / UCLA or CDE/SBE prior to “operational” administration of SBAC tests this spring. I spoke to these lack-of-transparency concerns at the SBE meeting in January, so there is a public record (including a handout with copies of written exchanges between CDE staff and myself) on these mostly technical issues as well as the failure of CDE to address the issues in public . . . . . the apparent lack of comparability of items administered to differing students is just one of many such issues.

  8. Harold Capenter 1 year ago1 year ago

    Right on the mark Don: “This state has fewer opt-outs for one reason. It started testing later and teachers have not used Common Core to an appreciable extent until this year.”

  9. Harold Capenter 1 year ago1 year ago

    Yep, I can tell you a story about my Parent Faculty Club; they banned any content discussion or public comment on the topic of Common Core. My PFC now requires public comment be "pre-approved" by the PFC Board. They've told me, they would never pre-approve any comment about common core, because the PFC is suppose to support the teachers. Now how do you like that? So many lies from my PFC President … Read More

    Yep, I can tell you a story about my Parent Faculty Club; they banned any content discussion or public comment on the topic of Common Core. My PFC now requires public comment be “pre-approved” by the PFC Board. They’ve told me, they would never pre-approve any comment about common core, because the PFC is suppose to support the teachers. Now how do you like that? So many lies from my PFC President and Board. It makes me ill to think about their deception on parents and students alike. I guess its like it we don’t discuss the issues and/or concerns about Common Core, then the issues/concerns don’t exist.

    Replies

    • CarolineSF 1 year ago1 year ago

      Sounds like an EdSource story to me.

  10. Harold Capenter 1 year ago1 year ago

    Why you can opt out of the test without fear of penalty to your school. Let's tell the truth now: http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear Quoting: " Laura Ainsworth, co-president of the Parent Faculty Club at Calabasas High, whose daughter is a senior there, said she worries how the high number of opt-outs will affect funding and the school’s reputation. Some teachers ended up with two students in class to take the tests. Other students … Read More

    Why you can opt out of the test without fear of penalty to your school. Let’s tell the truth now: http://www.fairtest.org/why-you-can-boycott-testing-without-fear Quoting: ” Laura Ainsworth, co-president of the Parent Faculty Club at Calabasas High, whose daughter is a senior there, said she worries how the high number of opt-outs will affect funding and the school’s reputation. Some teachers ended up with two students in class to take the tests. Other students said they wanted to sleep in, while others decided to study for AP tests, Ainsworth said.”

  11. Cynthia Eagleton 1 year ago1 year ago

    I urge folks to hear Jesse Hegopian, high school teacher, writer, and Black Student Union advisor, and Rita Green, NAACP Seattle Chapter President, weigh in on high-stakes testing, opting out, Black Lives Matter, the history of standardized testing, eugenics, the price of Gates/Broad/Walton financial support for Public Ed and Civil Rights Organizations, and the coming together of the Opt Out and Black Lives Matters movements. You can find the links for video coverage of … Read More

    I urge folks to hear Jesse Hegopian, high school teacher, writer, and Black Student Union advisor, and Rita Green, NAACP Seattle Chapter President, weigh in on high-stakes testing, opting out, Black Lives Matter, the history of standardized testing, eugenics, the price of Gates/Broad/Walton financial support for Public Ed and Civil Rights Organizations, and the coming together of the Opt Out and Black Lives Matters movements. You can find the links for video coverage of their workshop at the Network for Public Conference here:

    http://dianeravitch.net/2015/05/02/watch-jesse-hagopian-and-rita-green-on-blackstudentlivesmatter-at-npe/

  12. Eric Zilbert 1 year ago1 year ago

    Don't forget the Early Assessment Program! It is important for juniors to remember that the grade 11 assessments provide information about readiness for the college curriculum. Student who take the test and score in the top performance level of "exceeded" the standard and have their scores sent to CSU or some community colleges, are exempted from taking placement tests. Those in the "met standard" level are instructed to take additional English and math courses in … Read More

    Don’t forget the Early Assessment Program! It is important for juniors to remember that the grade 11 assessments provide information about readiness for the college curriculum. Student who take the test and score in the top performance level of “exceeded” the standard and have their scores sent to CSU or some community colleges, are exempted from taking placement tests. Those in the “met standard” level are instructed to take additional English and math courses in grade 12. .

  13. Bruce William Smith 1 year ago1 year ago

    Ms. Ainsworth should recognize that pupils don't work for the schools; the schools are supposed to work for them. State schools provide services paid for by taxpayers, and when the services are unsatisfactory, families should reject them. The Common Core is not causing as much damage in California as in other states because our state's leadership wisely rejected the bullying of the federal department of education and its insistence on linking pupil test scores to … Read More

    Ms. Ainsworth should recognize that pupils don’t work for the schools; the schools are supposed to work for them. State schools provide services paid for by taxpayers, and when the services are unsatisfactory, families should reject them. The Common Core is not causing as much damage in California as in other states because our state’s leadership wisely rejected the bullying of the federal department of education and its insistence on linking pupil test scores to teacher appraisals, which is the chief means by which Secretary Duncan has caused so much damage to the reform movement in American education. Nonetheless, primary and middle schools that relentlessly teach to prepare for Common Core tests are damaging their children’s futures, since the standards, particularly in mathematics, are internationally uncompetitive, leaving American youth three years behind their peers in China and two years behind those elsewhere in Asia and in Europe, even if they do meet the standards with 100 percent proficiency on their specified schedules. So informed, wise families will opt out of California’s state schools altogether, and will demand vouchers to pay for the educations California’s state schools should be providing but aren’t, in blind refusal.

    Replies

    • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

      Ainsworth wants everyone to get in line and follow the leader, not to express themselves and engage in dissent. There's a reason why California acknowledges the lawful rights of families not to participate in testing. She might want to consider those reasons. Hint, it has something to do with the First Amendment. From the article - "Superintendent Minshew said he is worried about possibly losing funds, but there is nothing he can do … Read More

      Ainsworth wants everyone to get in line and follow the leader, not to express themselves and engage in dissent. There’s a reason why California acknowledges the lawful rights of families not to participate in testing. She might want to consider those reasons. Hint, it has something to do with the First Amendment.

      From the article – “Superintendent Minshew said he is worried about possibly losing funds, but there is nothing he can do about it because parents have the right to opt out their children.”

      In case Mr. Minshew and Ms. Tully are unaware, no school loses Federal funding for failure to maintain a 95% participation rate. The worst is that a school may have the mantle of having “failed to make AYP”.

      Can we dig a little deeper here?

      Bruce, excellent comment!

      • Susan Pena 1 year ago1 year ago

        I teach at Westmoor High School, as a matter of fact, where we had a 40% opt out rate, with 35% of students in AP Courses. Are these numbers just a coincidence? Almost all of the students who spoke to me about opting out said that they were doing so because they needed to focus on their upcoming AP tests - a way for them to get very inexpensive college credit, in this … Read More

        I teach at Westmoor High School, as a matter of fact, where we had a 40% opt out rate, with 35% of students in AP Courses. Are these numbers just a coincidence? Almost all of the students who spoke to me about opting out said that they were doing so because they needed to focus on their upcoming AP tests – a way for them to get very inexpensive college credit, in this not so affluent working class community. Many of the Westmoor AP teachers felt very frustrated by having to abandon preparing their students for the upcoming tests when their classes were decimated for two weeks by SBAC testing. When Superintendent Minshew stated that the opting out bore no relationship to AP testing, he was implying that Westmoor students were lazy or unmotivated, which is very far from the truth. Also untrue was his statement that the tests were administered in March, well before the AP exams. The testing actually went from April 14 to the 24, and the AP exams started on May 4. I don’t understand why our Administration chooses to support the multi-billion dollar testing companies and Bill and Melinda Gates, who spearheaded the Common Core but so far have not given us the money to buy computers for every student, over the best interests of our students.

        • Don 1 year ago1 year ago

          Susan, students/families opt-out for various reasons. The situation you describe at your high school would fall under one of the common reasons - too many tests. This reasoning is part of the many in the opt-out movement, though not specifically a thumbs down for Common Core, another specific reason why some opt-out. But whereas students didn't do this in the past to any appreciable extent, suddenly this movement is giving them the … Read More

          Susan, students/families opt-out for various reasons. The situation you describe at your high school would fall under one of the common reasons – too many tests. This reasoning is part of the many in the opt-out movement, though not specifically a thumbs down for Common Core, another specific reason why some opt-out. But whereas students didn’t do this in the past to any appreciable extent, suddenly this movement is giving them the cover, the knowledge, comfort or the convenience to do so. Maybe they never really considered it a serious option until they read the headlines and saw that it was possible and without personal consequence, even beneficial.Your comment also raises the interesting question as to whether the longer more disruptive SBAC testing will have negative consequences for those taking more consequential tests around the same time.

  14. navigio 1 year ago1 year ago

    US news and world report changed their methodology for 2015 to reduce the impact of lower test score results (was this why?). They also rely on AP access and results as an additional metric so if students are opting out for that reason it might even help those schools (on the ranking anyway).

  15. Don 1 year ago1 year ago

    "Largely, the decisions to opt out had nothing to do with negative opinions about the Common Core standards themselves." - Sarah Tully That's interesting... and ridiculous. The students at these 4 schools took the SATs and AP in years past and didn't opt out back then. Is it just a coincidence these students happened to opt out this year? Newsweek ran a story just today about the massive and growing opt-out movement across the … Read More

    “Largely, the decisions to opt out had nothing to do with negative opinions about the Common Core standards themselves.” – Sarah Tully

    That’s interesting… and ridiculous. The students at these 4 schools took the SATs and AP in years past and didn’t opt out back then. Is it just a coincidence these students happened to opt out this year?

    Newsweek ran a story just today about the massive and growing opt-out movement across the country.

    What’s Behind the ‘Opt Out’ Protests Against the Common Core?
    BY MINDY L KORNHABER 5/18/15 AT 9:42 AM

    It glosses over virtually every related issue and could have benefited by a couple extra pages, but it makes its point: There’s a confluence of events fueling this movement and its growing rapidly.

    This state has fewer opt-outs for one reason. It started testing later and teachers have not used Common Core to an appreciable extent until this year.

    The article by Sarah Tully is myopic at best and disingenuous at worst.

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