To test or not to test: bill would leave choice up to parents

1 year 3 weeks 2 days ago February 28, 2016 Feb 28, 2016 Sunday, February 28 2016 Sunday, February 28, 2016 8:03:00 PM CST in News
By: Katie Moeller, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA - Students' participation in state assessments and standardized testing could soon be left up to their parents or guardians. 

The Missouri House of Representatives is set to discuss HB 2315 Monday, which would allow parents to opt out of "statewide summative assessments" for their children. Adult students aged 18 and older would also be able to abstain from state tests.

Candidate for membership on the Columbia Board of Education Joe Toepke said he agrees with the idea behind the bill.

"Any measure that puts the control back in the hands of the parents of students is a good one," Toepke said. 

But Toepke said he would encourage parents not to opt out of state testing. 

"Testing allows students' strengths and weaknesses to be identified," he said. "It also lets teachers know what they're doing well on and what their students are struggling with." 

The bill would also require school districts to send out letters to parents before testing, giving in-depth information about the testing process including: 

  • The purpose of the assessment
  • The learning targets that make up the assessment
  • The days the test will be administered
  • The amount of class time necessary for the tests
  • The difference between good and bad performance on the assessment
  • When results will be available
  • Information about opting out of testing

Toepke said the bill could potentially have ramifications for school funding if enough parents decided to opt out of state testing for their children. 

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