students are not standardized


My name is Carolyn Leith and I’m a member of the Seattle Opt Out Group. I’m also a parent of a 3rd grader at Olympic View Elementary.

Already, 3rd graders at Olympic View have spent six hours of class time taking the English Language Arts portion of the SBAC– which is the new test tied to the common core standards.

When testing season is over, 3rd graders at Olympic View will have spent a total of 12 hours testing. Six hours on the ELA portion of the SBAC and another 6 hours on the Math assessment.

I find it deeply disturbing that the Smarter Balanced Consortium feels it’s developmentally appropriate for eight and nine year old children to spend 12 hours testing.

At Olympic View, we work very hard to create a loving and caring school community. Given our school’s values, I’m very worried the SBAC will discourage our community’s most vulnerable learners.

According to a report by the Smarter Balanced Consortium, only 15.8% of 3rd graders, with IEPs, will pass the ELA portion of the SBAC. For English language learners, the pass rate is 13.6%. Overall, only 38.1% of 3rd graders will pass the ELA assessment.

Because of these reasons, I have opted both of my children out of the SBAC. I can’t, in good conscience, allow my children to participate in a flawed assessment –which will unfairly label students and schools as failures.

I’m not alone in this decision.

Parent leaders who are opting their students out have been identified in thirty-five schools in the Seattle School District; amongst those schools we have staff–counselors, librarians and teachers–who are opting out their own children.

More than 100 students have opted out at Ingraham High School, Nathan Hale High School and Garfield High School. More than 50 students have opted out at TOPS K-8 and Pathfinder Elementary.

This year we are actively witnessing more opt outs of standardized tests than any other point in the history of the Seattle School District.

These are conservative numbers–just from those parents who have stepped forth to share with us their stories–and we strongly suspect there are many, many more.  After testing ends, the school district will have more exact numbers which can be requested by the public.

This unprecedented event is happening just before school board elections this Fall. Four seats will be vacant. Savvy candidates would do well to recognize Seattle’s growing opt out movement.

Parents, know your rights, become informed, advocate for your children–and VOTE.

-Carolyn Leith