Is Opt-Out In? 20 Percent of New York Students Boycotted This Year’s Standardized Tests

TESTING INCOMPLETE: More than 200,000—or 20 percent—of New York students eligible to take this year’s Common Core test refused. That’s quadruple the number of opt-outs last year, reports the New York Times. Passing rates for the estimated 900,000 students who took the test were 31 percent for reading and 38 percent for math.

In a follow-up op-ed, the Times’ editorial board says the “ill-conceived boycott could damage educational reform—desperately needed in poor and rural communities,” and notes that “for the most part, those opting out were white and in wealthy or middle-class communities.” It’s notable that only 1.4 percent of students in New York City did not take the tests.

It’s a big win for the opt-out movement—which has also taken hold across the country in states like Colorado—and a big headache to the federal education department, which can withhold money to districts if less than 95 percent of students participate. (So far that hasn’t happened yet.) States and districts may also find themselves lacking sufficient data for student and teacher evaluations, which often take standardized test scores into account.

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