How To Exempt Your Child From Statewide School Testing


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Last Updated on March 17, 2021 by Michelle Ball

By Michelle Ball, California Education Attorney for Students since 1995
 
As we all know, our kids are required to take state mandated educational tests, such as the CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress), to evaluate where they are in relation to grade level standards.  Most parents have their kids participate.  However, parents may exempt their child from these tests, and have the right to, if they take a few simple steps.
 
First, why would a parent EVER want to exempt their child from state tests?  There are many reasons:
 
a)  They feel their child’s self-esteem goes down after they see their scores or after the testing sessions, due to confusion.
b)  They don’t want their kid to have to endure lengthy and grueling testing.
c)  They don’t see the value in the testing.
d)  They just don’t want them to take any more government sponsored evaluations.
e)  Other reasons.
 
So, what do they do about it?
 
Parents are supposed to be notified annually their child will particiapte in state testing (see 5 CCR-California Code of Regulations §852), and should also be notified of their right to opt out of these tests.  Often this notification will be in the school handbook or in other general school communication.
 
 
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a parent’s or guardian’s written request to school officials to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of the assessments administered pursuant to this chapter shall be granted.
 
Per the state regulation, 5 CCR§ 852(c):
 
A parent or guardian may annually submit to the school a written request to excuse his or her child from any or all parts of any test provided pursuant to Education Code section 60640 [CAASPP] for the school year. If a parent or guardian submits an exemption request after testing has begun, any test(s) completed before the request is submitted will be scored and the results reported to the parent or guardian and included in the pupil’s records. An LEA [local education agency] and its employees may discuss the CAASPP assessment system with parents and may inform parents of the availability of exemptions under Education Code section 60615. 
 
These laws give parents the right to pull their children from participation in the CAASPP assessment system.  

 

To achieve the withdrawal, the school or district can be contacted to see if they have an excusal form, or the parents can simply write a letter citing that they are excusing their kids from the testing.  Citing the above laws in the letter also couldn’t hurt. 
 
session-1989711_1280Parents need to follow up to ensure this is actually implemented, as I have seen some teachers not get the message prior to testing and an excused child could be subjected to testing improperly.
 
Students should be given alternate supervision and work during the time of the testing, but should not be punished nor retaliated against due to refusing to be tested.  
 
Parents may be pressured to withdraw their excusal, but can stick to the excusal regardless and give their kids a break from hours of tests.