PARENTS

Should Kids Be Allowed To Opt Out Of Standardized Tests? Many Americans Say 'No'

03/17/2015 03:02 pm ET | Updated Mar 17, 2015

Even though most Americans think that kids are given too many standardized tests in school these days, that doesn't necessarily mean they think kids should have the ability to opt out of these assessments, according to new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

This month, as schools around the country are giving statewide Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers tests, or PARCC assessments, a contingency of families who refuse to participate in standardized testing have been thrust into the spotlight. Earlier this month in New Mexico, thousands of students opted not to participate in PARCC tests, which are associated with the Common Core State Standards -- a set of education benchmarks that have been adopted in most states. Similarly, in New Jersey, school districts have reported high numbers of opt-outs.

Many states' policies on whether students are actually allowed to refuse standardized tests are murky. In many states that technically forbid students from opting out, some kids still refuse to take the tests, and the unclear policies lack enforcement. There are only a few states that explicitly allow students to abstain from taking statewide tests.

In collaboration with YouGov, The Huffington Post conducted a nationally representative poll on the subject of standardized testing this month. While most of the 1,000 respondents seemed to feel that standardized tests only do a "fair" or "poor" job of measuring student learning, many seemed to be less clear on whether they thought these tests should be optional.

Many respondents reported feeling that standardized testing has done more harm than good over the past 10 years, as shown in the graph below. The increased focus on standardized testing began in 2001 with the implementation of the No Child Left Behind Act, which outlined consequences for schools if students performed poorly on the exams.

By the same token, most respondents said they think students take too many tests. Hardly any said they think students don't take enough tests.

Yet, 43 percent of respondents said they do not think K-12 students should be able to opt out of these tests as a form of protest.

We also asked our own Twitter followers if they would allow their kids to refuse standardized tests. Here are some of the responses we received:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted March 14-16 among U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

The Huffington Post has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov's nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the poll's methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov's reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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