SBAC Testing Starting in Seattle Public Schools

 Update: refusal form from SPS.  

Seattle Opt-Out form below

This from Soup for Teachers Facebook page:

SBAC testing has started! Ballard 11th graders taking Math SBAC tomorrow. Very little notice was given, I found out last night and opted my student out this morning.

Here's the link to the Facebook page for Seattle Opt-Out.  It is legal in Washington state to refuse testing for your child.  The only time your child really needs to take the test is in 10th grade as a graduation requirement.

From the SPS Assessments page:

What's new for 2016?

  1. Reduced assessment time. The assessments have eliminated the previously required classroom-based activity before each Performance Task. This will reduce time spent on the assessments.
  2. Uniform assessment windows. No longer do third-graders and 11th-graders have a shortened testing window. All grades may take the assessment between mid-March and early June.
According to the calendar, SBAC testing started last week in all grade levels.  Whether your school started is another question as the window is March 14-June 3rd.

Assessment calendarsTo download our 2015-16 assessment calendars (grades K-8 or 9-12), click the links below.
From Seattle Opt-Out:
Schools and teachers cannot opt your child out.  You must do it if your child is under the age of 18.  Your child can refuse to test, but they cannot write their own opt out letter as a minor.

How do I opt my child out of a test?

It is very easy:  write a note saying that you refuse to have your child tested.  You do not need to use a form the District supplies.  Or you can fill out the slip below and provide a copy to the school office.

Dear____________________ (Principal),

I respectfully refuse to have my child, ____________________, take the Smarter Balanced Assessments, Amplify, MAP, WaKIDS, MSP (or other tests, listed here:___________________).  This includes practice tests and make up tests.

Please provide a comfortable and supervised space for my child to engage in a meaningful learning activity, do homework, or read.  My child will need full access to their backpack and lunch.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

Signature:________________________      Date:_____________________
Printed name:_____________________     Phone or email:______________________


Anonymous said…
So, I'm curious how opting out my (high-scoring) kids affects funding for our Title 1 school. Wouldn't enough zero scores from opting out make it appear like the school wasn't "improving"? How are test scores tied to funds that schools receive?

Testing curious
Liza Rankin said…
The city ties the Families and Education Levy money to school performance, so testing and attendance affect those funds. (The city should rethink how they dispense money from grants that have been awarded...)
Anonymous said…
We'd be curious, too.

At this point no Title 1 funding has been impacted in any way due to choosing to opt out of high stakes standardized tests, anywhere in the country. And this includes NY state, where there were over 220,000 students whose parents stepped up and said "enough!" to the invalid, corporate-driven, high stakes exams that children are being asked to sit for starting at the age of 7. Parents are also waking up to the data collection machine that high stakes testing heralds as well, rightfully concerned about privacy issues and FERPA laws being pushed to the limits.

We have a solution for all of those who are concerned about the potential "zero scores": DON'T INCLUDE THOSE SCORES. It is so simple--if a parent opts their student out (or if the student her/himself refuses), assign it to a category for EXACTLY WHAT IT IS--an OPT OUT! Then the numbers of those who are refusing to feed the machine will be recognized, no 'zeros' will be inaccurately reported, and the fear-based technique we are seeing employed here will be exposed.

If you step back you can see how the tactic of the "zero" is manipulative and flat-out unfair. Parents panic at the mention of a "zero," we've been trained by the test-and-punish system to assume that score is one of loss. I've been opting my child out for years in Seattle and on his Source record it says "refused." There is no 'zero.' It is smoke. Blow through it.

Test scores in Seattle can be tied to Levy funds, which is another problem, separate from Title 1 funds. You can ask the principal at your building if your school receives Levy funding. It has been tied to MAP scores in the past, and it is a mess to do this. Even people at the City level who are involved in the distribution of funds are quietly realizing what a mistake this has been, to look to test scores to determine funding. Think about it: you have a high need school with a substantial free and reduced lunch population, a solid number of English Language Learners (tests are such a disservice to those children), kids who are working with IEPs and more, and you look to test scores to determine financial support. Those kids are already challenged by life obstacles--and a computer adaptive test score will determine if they have school counselors? full time librarians? p.e. teachers? family support workers? instructional assistants? really?!! The funding for those critical wrap-around services for our most fragile student populations is impacted due to MAP scores?

So we at Seattle Opt Out encourage you to question, learn, expose and share. And, of course, opt out!

Seattle Opt Out
I want to concur here. There has NEVER been a single case of the Dept of Ed pulling Title One money over opt-outs. A lot of saber-rattling but nothing.

I need to find the article but it was an analysis of what A. Smauelsen is saying - score the scores you have. Is it a clear portrayal of academic achievement in the school no, but if you are only using one test score for that, you have bigger problems.

Lynn said…
Here's a link to the district's 2015 SBAC scores for the 11th grade. You can see that the state is already reporting refusals separately:

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