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By Sandy Stenoff

Don’t let anyone tell you that organized resistance to high stakes testing isn’t making a difference. It IS. But we still have a lot more work to do.

Activists and informed citizens must keep engaging parents, teachers, principals, superintendents, school boards and legislators. Here is some good information to share with them.

  • States with high school exit exams dropped from 25 to 13 since 2012 (Florida still does).
  • Various states cut tests for Kindergarten and high school. Districts across the nation, including locales with many students of color and low-income families, ended their tests.
  • Seven states halted the use of student scores to judge teachers.
  • Ten states now allow parents to opt their children out of some or all exams* (see note below)
  • Increasing implementation of performance assessments by states and districts. New Hampshire’s pioneering program now involves half the state’s districts.

The report focuses on case studies of Maryland and seven districts that eliminated or sharply reduced the amount of testing, and of states that ended graduation tests. The studies describe how the victories were won, such as through clear organizing strategies, alliance building, using surveys, developing clear messages that focuses on benefits to students, and winning school board elections.

These cases will be of use to union, parent, student and other activists seeking to end the overuse and misuse of tests and implement teacher-developed, student-focused performance assessments. The report also includes links to a usable, online survey developed by FairTest and allies.

Note: The Opt Out Florida Network doesn’t necessarily see this as a *good* thing for this movement. “Opt out” is a protest. We don’t ask for permission. Click here to learn more. 

As of Nov 13, 2017, the list of test-optional colleges and universities is now just shy of 1,000. See FairTest’s press release here. 

“The past three years – since the redesigned SAT was announced – have seen the fastest growth ever of schools dropping ACT/SAT mandates,” explained FairTest Public Education Director Bob Schaeffer. More than 80 colleges and universities reduced standardized exam requirements in that period. That’s a pace of one every two weeks.