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Colorado Opt Out information... Parents have the right to keep their children out of the CSAP tests

Students not required to take CSAP tests. Editor Note: This parent research was conducted by a Colorado parent who is part of grassroots activism in Colorado. It appeared on Build Better Schools (http://www.buildbetterschools.com/?p=486) , Feb. 23, 2011. Take a look at the billboards (http://susanohanian.org/cartoon_fetch.php?id=520) the Coalition for Better education puts up every year around CSAP testing time.

And don't miss this (http://susanohanian.org/show_nclb_cartoons.php?id=672).

No school penalty for opting out of the CSAP (Colorado's state testing program)

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 calculation. . . 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 child’s 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



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