A massive protest brought testing under fire, as a boycott of over 1500 teens protestingexcessive testing refused to take science and social studies statewide tests. The protest was to call attention to how much time is spent on standardized testing.
In Boulder Valley, Colorado, approximately 84 percent of the district high school seniors took part in the protest.
Nine out of 530 eligible seniors took the test at Fairview High in Boulder, while the remaining 200 waived signs, and collected food and school supplies for the holidays. They also wrote letters to policymakers.
“That we had so many students out there in the freezing weather really shows how committed we are,” Fairview senior Jessica Piper said. “We had a really good turnout.”
It is the first time that seniors are taking state science and social studies tests. Previously, ninth and tenth graders took state tests, and juniors took the ACT. Seniors were exempt.
In other Colorado districts, students also did not show up for the tests. Parents throughout the state agreed to opt them out. The parental refusals were centered in the highest performing and most affluent districts.
Teachers and parents are concerned that too much time is spent on testing, and students have decided to do something about it. Boulder Valley Superintendent Bruce Messinger states that Colorado has not found what he calls “the right balance.” He felt that the protests showed that students demonstrated their concern very well. “We hope it will generate good discussion around these assessments,” he said.
The test cost, timelines and overall impact on instruction is now being investigated by a state task force. The report is due to the state Legislature by Jan 31.
Colorado Education Commissioner Robert Hammond has said he understands the concerns about the volume of testing and time dedicated to preparation.