Some Minnesota teachers, parents and students are standing up against testing intended to measure student progress. Teacher Robert Panning-Miller is leading the way at Minneapolis South High to inform parents of their rights to opt their children out of taking tests.
Others like Jim Bartholomew, education policy director at Minnesota Business Partnership, disagree with opting out of testing because a test may show what students know and if they are ready for college.
On this week's Friday Roundtable, we look at the current testing of Minnesota students. What happens when students opt out?
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• Standardized tests? South High leads way for opting out
Encouraged by teachers and with parent approval, more than 100 of 140 students in South High's ninth-grade open program skipped last fall's MAP test, which measures academic progress. And this spring, at least 250 older students opted out of the state-required MCA, which tests comprehension.
Opt-outs by parents are allowed by federal law, but they're also part of a larger, often teacher-led national rebellion against standardizing the measurement of student knowledge. Those teachers say such tests are driven by would-be education reformers from outside their profession but don't help student learning. (Star Tribune)
• Superintendent responds on test opt-outs
[Minneapolis Superintendent Bernadeia] Johnson said: "Test scores do not necessarily equate to learning but they do play a critical part of the learning process. Many MPS [Minneapolis Public Schools] teachers tell us that the benefits of certain tests outweigh the costs by allowing them to make informed decisions about students' academic needs and involving parents in these decisions." (Star Tribune)
• Minnesota's standardized testing gets a boost from business group
"One thing we wanted to highlight is the state assessments are the public's only source of comparable data on students and schools statewide," said Jim Bartholomew, education policy director for the Minnesota Business Partnership. (Pioneer Press)
• U.S. Tests Teens A Lot, But Worldwide, Exam Stakes Are Higher
In the U.S., only about half of states have anything resembling a high-stakes, high school exit exam. And American colleges and universities do consider report cards, teacher recommendations and those obligatory application essays. In fact, hundreds of U.S. schools no longer require test scores at all. (NPR)
• Should Parents Opt Out of Testing? (New York Times)