Nope, not us. We're not fooled by the targeted advertising. We know better. If anything, it makes parents more upset that money is being wasted on propaganda to trick us into trusting them. This test is a rush-job to get done. Just because this new test is given on paper instead of computer (for most districts, but some are going the computer test route. Click HERE to see the list), it doesn't mean that it will be any better than previous years. We can't ever see the test, but it may have poorly written questions like previous years. We know for a fact that this year's TNReady test is NOT shorter than previous years. Click HERE to read our blog with previous years' testing times compared to this year. Yes, this is still a very high-stakes, high-pressure test for children and teachers.
The TN Department of Education has made it even more difficult for parents to opt-out (aka "refuse") this year by extending the testing window to 3 weeks long (April 17 - May 3). That's an awful lot of school days to keep a child home. They know that, and they're betting that the money spent on marketing and advertisements will pay off.
The #1 question we get on our website and on social media: How the heck do I opt my child out of this test that I don't agree with because (fill in the blank):
- It causes my child test anxiety (stomach aches, throwing up, sore tight throat, pulling hair, hates school, hives, etc).
- I don't want my child's teacher evaluated by my child's performance on a test.
- Testing takes too much time from my child's school day.
- Test prep has consumed my child's school days lately.
- I don't ever get to see the test or my child's right/wrong answers on it.
- I don't want my child being a guinea pig for a testing company by piloting possible future test questions.
- I don't want my child filling out any more surveys that are embedded in the tests.
That data can help them prove (fill in the blank):
- your child's school is failing.
- your child's teachers are worthless.
- the only solutions are to privatize public education through charter schools, vouchers, new untrained cheaper teachers, etc.
- there needs to be MORE testing. (cha-ching for testing companies that donate to politicians!)
- your school district needs to spend more money and time on test prep and expensive curriculum so that their test scores improve. (cha-ching for the testing companies, again)
Okay enough filling in the blanks. Just tell me:
Is it possible to REFUSE testing this year?
The news doesn't look good. To opt out, you basically have 2 options:
- Keep your child home during the testing.
- Have your child refuse to take the test.
If you go the absent route, some parents have had luck with notes from their child's doctor stating that their child suffers from test anxiety, thus giving them excused absences. Might be worth a try?
If your child refuses, he/she may have to sit for 7-9 hours with nothing to do but stare at the test (unless you live in a nice school district where they will let students read a book or do an alternative educational activity like the TNReady testing manual specifically says on p.22 is allowed. Click HERE to read and/or download the manual).
DISCLAIMER: Not taking the test means your child's final report card will be impacted by 10% IF the state gets them graded and back to districts before final report cards. (Don't hold your breath on that one). High school scores may come back in time.
How will the scores be factored in if the state does get the scores back?
Every district seems to have a different way of factoring the TNReady scores into report cards. Some average it as 10% of the 4th quarter grade which is minimal, others use it as part of the final yearly average, which is more substantial. Some districts (like Metro Nashville) have a no zero policy, so the lowest grade they can get on the TNReady is a 50%. So you see, districts do have some flexibility on how much the tests impact report cards. If you don't like the way your district handles it, you should talk to your local school board and let them know you want your district's policy changed for future years.
Good luck, parents!
Even attempting to opt-out sends a strong message to teachers, administrators, school boards, and the TN Department of Education. In the meantime, contact your legislator to tell them this high-stakes testing is absurd. You can point out that:
- The test is a rush job to create.
- The test is not aligned to TN's standards which are in limbo.
- The state is predicting lower scores due to the rollout of this new test. In the end, will outcomes improve? Or is the point for the outcomes to never improve? To always be churning, updating, going too fast so teachers are never really perfecting their ability to teach?
- The test is not transparent or helpful. Parents never see the test questions. Teachers never see the test questions. Legislators never see the test questions.
Parents must be doing something right because they are spending a ton of money on all these slick postcards, sponsored facebook posts, and prime time rush hour radio spots. Keep up the great work advocating for your children!!!
If you have more questions about refusing testing, check out our website: