All students can refuse PARCC testing. Whether students participated in PARCC in March or not, they may still refuse the End-of-Year (EOY) PARCC at any point during the EOY sessions.
If a student refused all of the March PBA part of PARCC, the IL State Board of Education (ISBE) has said that they do not need to refuse any of the EOY, they will simply be considered a non-participant for EOY. Please notify your school of this information if they appear not to be aware of this.
For a student that didn’t refuse Part 1, we recommend that parents notify their school in writing that their child is refusing the test and they expect their child to be treated with kindness and respect. This means that children who are refusing testing should be allowed to do another activity (reading, writing, drawing) in another location outside the testing room and should face no negative repercussions for refusing.
Here are two refusal notification letters you may wish to use:
- CPS specific opt out/refusal letter (in English and Spanish)
- Refusal/opt out letter for anywhere in Illinois
Children without refusal letters may still refuse the test because the state does not officially recognize a parental role in opting out of PARCC. An explanation of student rights is here.
Although the IL State Board of Education has said that “Opting out is not an option,” they have also said districts “can develop a policy for those students who refuse to take assessments on testing days.” Many districts are providing exactly the type of policy described above. If your district is not, we recommend working together with other parents in your district to demand that they do. Some districts have backed down from punitive sit-and-stare policies since the March testing window. At least one is now allowing refusing high school students to return to their regular classes.
Though some states do have opt out laws or regulations or broadly allow opt out in practice, Illinois does not. As a result, parents are not permitted to refuse the test on behalf of their children; special needs children, children with anxiety and children as young as 8 are expected to refuse the test themselves. This is one of the reasons why we are working to get an opt out bill passed in IL, HB306.
The bill is now sitting in limbo after being procedurally blocked from a vote on the House floor by Gov. Rauner’s allies. Please call your state representative and senator and tell them you don’t want to see HB306 die because we need a clear and humane policy for families that don’t want their children to take PARCC or other state-mandated assessments.
Questions? call (413)-3OPT-OUT or email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @MTAS_chicago.