How to Opt Out

For information on refusing the PARCC, please see this page.

We have created a template CPS parents can use (1) to research what tests their children are scheduled to take and what the results of those tests will be used for and then (2) to inform their principal that their children will not be participating in some or all standardized testing. Click here for the Google doc version (en español), and here for the .pdf (en español).

We encourage parents to discuss standardized testing with their child’s teacher(s) and principals, customize the letter as needed for their particular child’s situation, and then submit the letter to the principal and provide copies for teachers as well.

This year (2014-2015), like last year the spring (May/EOY) administration of the NWEA MAP is a high-stakes test for 3rd, 6th, 8th grades and 5th and 7th graders who plan to apply for selective enrollment schools for entrance in the 2016-2017 school year.  If you are considering opting your child out of the MAP, please read our factsheet about the risks and opportunities of opting out of the NWEA MAP (en español).

In addition, this year the new PARCC test will replace the ISAT (elementary school) and PSAE (high school) as the test that Illinois requires public schools to administer to use for state accountability purposes. For this year, PARCC is a low stakes test for students; eventually, for high schoolers, the third year of PARCC testing will be a graduation requirement.  There are no consequences for 3rd to 9th graders who refuse the PARCC test this year. (CPS is giving the PARCC to 9th graders only. If you are in a district outside Chicago, your district could be giving PARCC to high schools students who are in their 2nd or 3rd year of coursework instead, but most districts are choosing 9th grade.)

Note that the IL State Board of Education has confirmed that PARCC will not be used for anything for students this year: “This is a baseline year so there are no consequences for schools or students.”

Questions? Contact us at

13 responses to “How to Opt Out

  1. Hello,

    I spoke to my childs principal to let her know what I needed to do to opt out my child from PARCC. She said that she legally has to give it to him and if he misses that day of school then that she legally has to give it to him on retesting day. Has anybody else heard of this? I don’t like my child to miss school but I also do not want my child to take these tests. Help

    • Yes, unfortunately, this is the policy that IL State Board of Education is telling districts they must follow. In many cases, this is not a good situation for children and schools. We need to change the law so that this is remedied.

      Here’s instructions on how to help your child refuse the test: We don’t recommend keeping children out of school on testing day; you are paying taxes for a free and appropriate public education. You should demand exactly that as well as kindness for your child and respect for your decision as a parent to protect your child from excessive testing.

      Email us if you have more questions!

    • Dear Concerned Parent,
      I just heard the exact same thing today from my district’s administration. I am wondering if we are in the same district?! We legally represent our minor children in all aspects of society, why won’t the school listen to us? I don’t want my child subject to the test and I don’t want my child to face that pressure of saying “no” personally. I need help too.

  2. Hi, my cursory review if the materials I can find seems to indicate that there are no negative consequences for opting out of the MAP that is administered this coming Monday (my sonun is in the 8th grade). Am I correct? Thanks!

    • Yes, Winter (aka middle-of-the-year or January) MAP is low-stakes for all students in all grades. No consequences for opting out of it. (May MAP is high-stakes for promotion for 3, 6, 8th and for AC and SE admissions for 5th and 7th.)

  3. If too many students opt out, how will that affect federal funding for the school? I thought that 95% of kids in a given school needed to take the test for a school to continue to qualify for funds. Before we opt out, we might want to know long term effects if there are any. Please advise.

  4. Thank you so much for clarification!!! I can better word my response to this principal, and will certainly invoice him for the time I take in speaking with him regarding this… Although he wrote, he’d be happy to stay after school hours. (Uh. Thank you?) LOL

  5. Hi:
    I emailed my son’s principal, etc, and received at return email stating that “CPS policy requires parents to meet with the principal before opting out”… Where does it say this in CPS policy? Please cite or denounce as I would like to respond to this principal.

  6. Opting out has caused some discourse as my wife has drunk the BBB cool aid. “If they don’t take the test…they won’t be promoted”. Please help me here I’m prepared to opt out and advocate for others to do the same. I just need to have a conversation about this. I am available over the next two weeks.

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