Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Parent opts child out of field test and opts into meaningful learning

Opt Out of Field Tests
Students across the nation have been unnecessarily subjected to the most expensive and least effective assessments possible over the past few months...standardized tests. While in all cases this resulted in stolen instructional time, in many cases it was even worse and also resulted in students forced to take tests against parental will even if it meant emotional and  physical distress to the child.  

In many states the system isn't done stealing instructional time. They are now going into a round of field testing where they use children as involuntary subjects on which to experiment.  Parents should know that they DO NOT have to do this. They can opt their child out as New York City parent and teacher Veronica Vega is doing.  Below is her opt out letter which can be used as a model for other parents who value student learning.  

Dear Principal,

Please do not allow my child Steven Herrera Jr. in 5th grade to sit for any New York state field test in any subject the week of June 4-8.

My child has been subjected to excessive amounts of state standardized state testing this school year.  The tests in April consumed six days of 90 minutes each, in addition to the huge amount of time devoted to preparing for those tests.  It is unacceptable that even more valuable classroom time be allocated to state testing.  Furthermore, I object to my child being used as a guinea pig for a second time by Pearson and the State Education Department, especially as field test questions were already embedded in the April state tests, making my child a research subject for a for-profit corporation without my consent or permission.

It is my understanding that there will be no negative consequences for the school if children do not take these field tests, and make-up exams will not be given.  Therefore, I do not give permission for my child to take the June field test.

I would respectfully request that the school not give the test at all, and that all students benefit from a day of instruction rather than waste yet another day on test-taking.  If, however, the school does give the tests, I expect it to offer an alternative instructional activity for my child.


Veronica Vega-Herrera

You can join parents across the nation who are opting their children out of tests and related activities in your local opt out group.  Find your states opt out group in two ways:1) Type in the search: Opt out of State Standardized Tests - Your State i.e. Opt Out of State Standardized Tests - Ohio2) Go to the page url: i.e.


  1. Has the school indicated the purpose of the field testing? Where I teach, we recently had a field test for the writing exam because it is finally going online next year (after being paper-pencil), so it was less "experimenting on kids" and more of a true test to see if the testing system works and if any bugs needed to be worked out. And honestly, the students (high school juniors) didn't take it seriously at all and just did whatever. In fact, I think some were done in 15 minutes.

    A field test session now can prevent a huge clusterf--- on test day. Just a thought.

  2. Good for her... either they need to offer meaningful instruction for those not testing, or they need to offer them the option of an excused absence in my opinion!

    Anonymous... then the teachers could just as easily 'field test' it couldn't they? Why should school children have to do their job of ensuring that it 'works?' If it truly needs to be tested that way, then have several schools worth of teachers and other school staff test drive it instead of wasting a day of school on it.