Standardized testing opt-out rates low among lower grades, higher with high school grades

Posted at 11:08 AM, Aug 11, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-11 19:52:30-04

DENVER -- A push to opt out of standardized testing across Colorado may be working among higher grades, as new numbers released by the Colorado Department of Education show participation rates remain high for grades 3 through 5, but lower in 9th grade in 2016.

Officials in a Thursday release said they were happy to see stabilization of participation rates across the state in the lower grades, with 408,000 students between 3rd and 11th grade taking tests in English language arts, math, social studies and science. 

Of those students who participated, in 3rd through 5th grades, officials reported 95 percent participation. In grades 6 and 7, participation rates of 90 percent were reported. In grade 8, officials reported 85 percent participation. In grade 9, officials said about 75 percent of students participated. 

With the participation numbers, officials also unveiled how students are doing on the tests, saying progress has been made, but performance can still improve. 

All students reportedly had their highest marks in five years on the ACT. In addition, marginal improvements were reported in math, social studies and English language arts. 

Judy Skupa, the assistant Superintendent of Performance Improvement for Cherry Creek Schools said their district puts a lot of emphasis on ACT testing and results.

"We have had some real steady increases over the course of the past few years and when we look at those increases they are indicative of the continuous improvement that we so value in Cherry Creek,” said Skupa. 

Many parents have come out against standardized testing in the past, saying the tests don't do much to improve schooling and can serve as a distraction from overall learning. 

"Only when the tests are considered together with classroom grades and teacher feedback can parents have a complete picture of a student's academic achievement," Katy Anthes, interim commissioner of education, said in response. 


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