Monday, January 14, 2013

Activities for students who #OptOut of #StandardizedTests

Many innovative educators realize that there are better ways to assess than standardized tests. As a result, they are supportive of students whose parents have decided to opt their children out of tests. 

This leaves teachers with a dilemma. Rather than sit and stare, what can those students do while their classmates take the test. This can be difficult considering most schools allow student to only have pencils, scrap paper and a testing booklet on their desk.

Here are some ideas:

  1. Write Perhaps your class is already doing a writing unit. The student can work on what you’re already doing. The student can also just write in their favorite genre about their favorite topic.
  2. Draw For the student who likes to doodle and draw...let him. Draw a picture, make a comic book, the sky’s the limit!
  3. Read In most schools students can read when they are done taking the test. Bring something you can start reading when the first student has completed the test.
  4. Review the test Write a review of the test. Take a look at the test. Write what you like and don’t like about the test. Provide ideas for making it better.
  5. Meditate Meditation is becoming more popular with young people. If this is something you know is a part of your student’s life, allow her to do that.
  6. Imagine Day dreaming is fun. Students can use this time to think about and imagine anything they want.
  7. Sleep We know that because of crazy bus schedules, Race to Nowhere mania, over-scheduling, etc. students often need more sleep. The test might just be a perfect time to catch some zzz’s.

If you have students whom you know are opting out, you might want to share this article with their parents to discuss with their children how they can spend their testing time.


  1. How about:

    8. Continue working on the self-directed project they were already working on.

  2. 9. Take a field trip with your parents to a museum or a hands on science center...something most schools don't do any more as they are so focused on test scores.