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Opted out of the state test (WKCE) in Wisconsin

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This year (2012), we decided to opt our children out of the state tests. Below is a brief discussion of why, and a sample of the activities our children were able to do instead.

Thank you for the kind reply regarding our decision to opt-out of state testing.
As a former teacher from Chicago Public Schools and current education professor,
I certainly understand the pressures exerted on schools, teachers and students
by these tests. Indeed, it is in response to this pressure that we have made our
decision. I feel it is important to use my position as a parent to shelter our
children from the comparative (and thus competitive) nature of standardized
tests to the degree this is possible. In addition, I hope this signals to our
children’s teachers that we value their professional judgment and innovative
curricula. Finally, as a parent, I am in the position to refuse to enable the
various misuses of standardized test scores by not providing those scores. I
understand that this may put additional pressure on the school if the 95%
testing target is not met, but I believe this is the best course of action for
our family. I am glad to hear the district relies on other sources of student
progress and I believe these will be sufficient to allow our children to make
progress in their own unique ways, with teacher assistance.

We look forward to using the testing time to provide learning time in
collaboration with teachers.

Thanks again.


Wade Tillett

What our children learned instead


I sent sheets to school today with our children with some activity choices they
designed to do during the testing. I’ve included a copy below.

Name: 4th grade
Activity Choice #1
I will: Research a book about drama
I will show this to my parents by: Telling them about it.

Activity Choice #2
I will: Make a powerpoint about drama.
I will show this to my parents by: Showing it to them.

Activity Choice #3
I will: Study my spelling words.
I will show this to my parents by: Doing a practice spelling test.

Name: 5th grade
Activity Choice #1
I will: Research Brazil
I will show this to my parents by: Making a powerpoint

Activity Choice #2
I will: Read Harry Houdini.
I will show this to my parents by: Telling them about what happened.

Activity Choice #3
I will: Study my states and capitals.
I will show this to my parents by: Showing them my study sheet I made.

Name: 7th grade
Activity Choice #1
I will: Research how a combine works
I will show this to my parents by: Make a drawing of how it removes the corn and
soybeans from the plant, or tell them how, or make a powerpoint

Activity Choice #2
I will: Research driverless cars in California
I will show this to my parents by: Tell them how it drives itself, or create a

They have had a good time researching Brazil, Jesse White Tumblers, Chicago, and
making powerpoints.

7th grader had a good time reading his book and helping around the office too.

5th grader is making a comic for her friend from where we moved from, who we will
see this weekend. She is using http://www.toondoo.com/ and has an account and
has made a character. If she could continue on this that would be great. If the
tech doesn’t work, she can draft it by hand.

4th grader would like to do math games on http://www.coolmath-games.com/ and
http://pbskids.org/cyberchase/math-games/ (5th grader might want to do some of
those too if she tires of the comic.)

Written by admin

November 8th, 2012 at 7:56 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

It’s official: Chicago Public Schools Parents may opt their children out of excessive testing

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from Substance News. See http://www.substancenews.net/articles.php?page=1208&section=Article for the full article.

by: Sharon Schmidt

In late March the Chief Education Officer Barbara Eason-Watkins replied to my concerns in a letter. This is what she wrote about opting out:

“Parents are not required to sign releases for their children to participate in any assessment series. If parents choose to exclude their children, the school has no obligation to provide an alternate activity. Your child will be asked to engage in a silent, self-guided activity.”

So, my third grader sat out the May 10 and 11 Learning First Benchmark tests and the May 17 Scantron. He read many chapters of the new Rick Riordan novel, The Red Pyramid, and probably memorized his new Calvin and Hobbes collection.

We certainly appreciated his principal’s willingness to accomodate our decision.

Written by Wade

August 30th, 2010 at 9:39 am

Posted in Uncategorized