The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

In one chart, the rules in all 50 states about opting kids out of standardized tests

The growing “opt-out movement” — when parents don’t allow their children to take state standardized tests — has grown significantly in various states around the country this past year, leading education officials to review their testing programs and see where they can cut back. The question for many parents is whether their state allows them to opt-out their children, and if not, what the actual consequences are if they do it anyway.

In New York state, some 20 percent of students opted out of tests this past spring, far more than the year before. With so much interest, one group of teachers within the United Federation of Teachers has set up a Web site for parents explaining how they can easily opt-out with their cell phone. In Washington state, up to 53 percent of 11th-graders opted-out of the spring Common Core exams.

The National Association of State Boards of Education has collected the rules in each state and assembled them in one chart, which you can see below.

**Please note that New Jersey just sent out guidance to top school administrators saying the following:

As in the past, schools must provide a testing environment that is conducive to students performing their best on the assessments. In this regard, school districts should be prepared in the event that students choose not to participate in the assessment program and adopt policies and procedures for the appropriate supervision and engagement of these students during administration of the assessment. The specific policies adopted by school districts regarding students not participating in the assessment program are entirely within the school district’s discretion, in consideration of each district’s school environment and available staffing and resources and recognizing that a statewide rule could not take into account these local circumstances. However, in developing these policies, districts should be mindful of ensuring appropriate student supervision and creating alternative options for student activity during the test period, so long as the testing environment is not disrupted and, in this regard, a sit and stare policy should be avoided. For example, students may be allowed to read in the testing environment, provided they are not logged into the test platform or reading material that is germane to the actual assessment, i.e., a math textbook during administration of the math portion of the assessment.