48,000+ students refused the testocracy in Washington State by opting out. This isn’t an “anomaly”, it’s an uprising

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How many students opted out of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) in Washington State?  Short answer: More than you probably imagined.

Now that the final numbers are out, let’s dig in and see what happened.

11th Grade

We knew the opt out numbers were going to be huge. Last week’s OSPI report confirmed that. Across the state, the opt out rate for 11th grade was 49.3% for ELA and 52.9% for Math. This translates into:

37,112 students opted out of the English Language Arts (ELA)

39,444 students opted out of Math


(Opt outs are reported as “No Score”. Click image to enlarge.)

Now let’s do a quick run down on the other grades. Although the numbers lack the dramatic impact of the 11th grade, these figures are higher than what was reported by OSPI in July.

3rd Grade

1,590 opted out of the ELA

1,680 for Math


4th Grade

1,579 opted out of ELA

1.702 for Math


5th Grade:

1,588 opted out of the ELA

1,683 for Math


6th Grade

1,733 opted out of the ELA

1,898 for Math


7th Grade

2,298 opted out of the ELA

2,341 for Math


8th Grade

2,676 for the ELA

2,953 for Math


Some thoughts.

First, if you opted out your elementary or middle school student, you’re far from being the only one. There are potential allies at your school, parents who have also taken the leap. You just need to find them. Organizing is more fun when you do it with friends.

Also, bring more parents into your newly formed opt-out circle. Talk to parents you don’t know. Reach out. Be open about opting your child out, share the why and how of what you did. Be respectful if they’re unsure. Challenging the status quo is frightening and takes practice. You’ll be surprised how many people will approach you later with questions and asking for advice.

Second, when you combine the opt-out numbers for grades 3 through 8, the figure is not insignificant.

For ELA, the total of students 3rd through 8th grade who opted out is 11,464.

For math, that number is 12,257.

Adding another 10,000+ opt outs to the state total isn’t something to be ignored. That’s a strong initial opt out base. These are the kids who will face the SBAC as a graduation requirement. Now is the time to rise up and squash it, before more harm is done.

All of this brings us back to the question: How many students opted out of the SBAC? Here is the answer.

For ELA: 37,112 11th graders + 11,464 grade 3-8  = 48,576 students

For Math 39,444 11th graders = 12,257 grade 3-8  = 51,701 students.

Randy Dorn thinks this year’s opt-outs are an “anomaly”. I see 48,000+ opt outs as an education uprising.

-Carolyn Leith


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