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Education news and notes from Tampa Bay and Florida

How can a Pasco County student opt out of Florida state tests?



Students begin the next round of Florida Standards Assessments in two weeks. In advance, some Pasco County parents have asked their district for guidance on how to opt out of the tests.

Late last week, the district armed principals with a response. In a nutshell, it's that the district does not acknowledge opting out.

"As a Florida public school, we are required to administer statewide assessments to our students (per Florida Statute 1008.22). This includes the required practice sessions for both paper-based and computer based testers," the memo from the district research and accountability office states. "At no time may a school or its staff encourage students to abstain from participating in the statewide tests."

If students refuse to sign the rules acknowledgement, they will still have to test. The administrator simply will have to document the refusal.

If students refuse to take the test, the memo continues, 

"... please remind them of the importance of the test, inform them that they will still be required to sit in the testing location for the duration of the test, and encourage them to participate. If they still refuse, ask them to sit there quietly until the testing time has completed and remind them that as long as there is still time in the session, they will be allowed to answer questions. Be sure to document their refusal to participate and inform your school assessment coordinator."

None of this precludes a parent from picking up their children and removing them from school during testing, supervisor Mark Butler said. Some organizers of the Opt Out Network have said this action would hurt the school's participation rate, and they do not support truancy. They continue to seek other options that allow for choice in testing.

Read Pasco's full memo to principals for more details.

[Last modified: Monday, February 15, 2016 3:35pm]


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