I’ve heard differing answers to this, so I figured I would check for myself. Two states have very clear and distinct laws which allow parent opt-out of standardized testing, and those are California and Utah (Utah code Ann. Paragraph 53A-15-1403 (9)). However, many other states have enough weight in their laws which can easily allow for opt-out.
In Pennsylvania, a student can be opted out of the standardized assessments for either religious or moral reasons. But the parent has to review the assessment and make a decision. A child can only graduate if they either do a project-based assessment due to being opted out or if the superintendent gives a waiver. What is very interesting about Pennsylvania though is the 95% Federal requirement. This does not apply to Pennsylvania since they filed for a No Child Left Behind waiver on this provision and it was granted to them.
In Tennessee, a child can be opted out by a parent if they are required to take a “survey, analysis or evaluation” (Tenn. Code Ann. §49-2-211) but it isn’t clear if this applies to the state assessment.
Wisconsin has a rather odd law (Wis. Stat. § 118.30(2)(b)3) that stipulates any student in 4th and 8th-11th grades can be opted out if a parent wants that, but for standardized test purposes, 3rd and 5th-7th must test.
Oregon (OAR 581-022-1910) allows opt-out for disability or religious reasons and it does not affect a student’s graduation requirements as long as they can show proficiency in understanding the state Essential Skills in reading, writing and math. Schools are held to the federal benchmark of 94.5% instead of the usual 95% for participation rates.
These are the key “opt-out” states, however many states currently have legislation like Delaware’s House Bill 50. In New Jersey, their bill cleared their House unanimously and it is waiting for a Senate vote. I will be updating those states this evening. All of these would be contingent on a Governor signing the laws, and some states it is very doubtful a Governor would, but you never know. If Delaware passes it, I am very curious how Jack Markell would handle that…