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Students not required to take CSAP tests

Susan Notes:

This research on the Colorado Student Assessment Program (CSAP) was conducted by a Colorado parent who is part of grassroots activism in Colorado. This research, which is valuable for ever parent of a public school child in the country, appeared on Build Better Schools, Feb. 23, 2011.

It gives parents information state education officials don't want them to know, information that scared and bullied school officials sometimes lie about.

Colorado activists are working hard to get opt out info into the community. Take a look at the billboards the Coalition for Better education puts up every year around CSAP testing time.

And don't miss this.

NOTE: The February 2011 edition of Substance includes a front page story of 4th grader Sam Schmidt's opting out of Chicago tests. Inside, in an interview Sam was asked about how he feels about his opt out of standardized testing. He answers, "I feel like it's the right thing to do."

Could a 4th grader learn a more important lesson: Do something because it's the right thing to do.

This issue of Substance also includes extensive reporting on the "unnecessary tests" inflicted on children in Chicago a sample opt out letter, and more.

Parents are on the march against corporate mandates. It is indeed very good news.

You can subscribe to Substance here.

We need to support this paper that supports kids and teachers.

You can find information on how to support the Coalition for Better Education
here. If everyone reading this stuck $5 in an envelope, think about what it would mean.

By Conny Jensen, a Colorado Parent

This is a condensed version of Facts about CSAP.

There is no federal law prohibiting a parent from opting their child out of CSAP testing.--Jo O'Brien, Colorado Dept. of Education.

  • CSAP scores and parental refusals have NO IMPACT on student grades.

  • There is no penalty for students who do not take the CSAP due to parental refusal.

  • Students who do not test, including those who ..[don't]..due to parental refusal, are counted as non-participants when determining participation rates for state and federal accountability purposes.

    ..non-participant data are not counted as zeroes – they are excluded from the calculationâ€Â¦ So the calculations are performed on the basis solely of students that took the test and had valid scores on it.--Jo O'Brien, Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Colorado Department of Education.

    In the CDE letter by James McIntosh, Director of Student Assessment: "Negative weights for Unsatisfactory and No Score percentages are not in effect anymore. . .Student records that receive a 'No Score' are not considered 'participating' for AYP."

    "Parental refusal is only an explanation of why the student did not test." --Glen Sirakavit, CSAP Senior Consultant, Colorado Department of Education

    Every student in grades 3-10 is "expected" to take the CSAP according to the CDE, however every student is not "required" to take the CSAP. In other words, it is at the parents' discretion as to whether or not their child takes this exam. Even so,

    "Teachers in most districts are being advised to stress the importance of the CSAPs to both the children and their parents." --The Coalition for Better Education.

  • Students have been given [bribes like] free merchandise, candy, and restaurant fare in exchange for completed test booklets. This is considered an unethical and unprofessional educational practice by some educators and parents.

  • Testing takes between 9 and 12 hours for children as young as 8 years old.

  • It has been reported that some students experience anxiety so extreme while taking the CSAP they have vomited on their exams or have had anxiety attacks.

  • If your child does not take the CSAP due to parental refusal, he/she does not have to stay home from school on testing days.

  • "No school's base funding will change as a result of poor CSAP performance. In fact, schools with 'low' or 'unsatisfactory' ratings will receive MORE funding in order to help them improve." --The Fund for Colorado's Future.

  • A school does NOT receive more state funding if it performs well on the CSAP.

  • "School districts receive funding based on pupil enrollment as defined by statute (22-54-103, C.R.S.). The only relationship CSAP has to the funding formula is a count of English Language Learners." --Vody Hermann, Director of Public School Finance, Colorado Dept. of Education

  • Not all administrators and teachers find the CSAP to be useful or the only important assessment tool. "I find it less useful for shaping instructional practice." --Scott Murphy, Superintendent for Littleton Public School District.

    "It is ONE source of information on your child̢۪s achievement and by no means should be considered the only input."--Jo O'Brien, Assistant Commissioner of Standards, Colorado Department of Education.

  • CSAP scores and parental refusals are NEVER INCLUDED on college transcripts.

  • "The big lie is that colleges and universities care about CSAP scores. They don’t. UNC and AIMS do not give a whit about CSAP scores. Nor does University of Colorado at Boulder. No one does. This is just something that school administration has made up to instill fear. This is shameful educational malpractice." --Don Perl, President of the Coalition for Better Education

    — Conny Jensen
    Building Better Schools Blog



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