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What Can Happen When You Opt Your Kids Out Of Standardized Tests

By: Krystle Crossman

Standardized tests such as the ACTs and the SATs have had students in fear for decades. These tests assume that everyone has the same level of education and gives a score depending on that standard that they have set out. One Colorado mother found no educational value in these tests, specifically the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test, and decided that she was going to opt her daughters out of taking it. She had no clue that it would cause so many problems.

There is a box on the TCAP registration form that says that they can opt out. The principal said that it was legal to do so on your child’s behalf, and so Lisa McElroy did just that. She sent an email to the guidance counselors at the middle school and the high school to make them aware that her daughters would not be taking the test. Not even fifteen minutes later she got a call from the middle school principal who was prepared to tell her all of the reasons that her children would benefit from taking the test and begging with her to reconsider. She didn’t find the principal’s words all that convincing and chose to stand her ground. The principal even went so far as to tell her that her daughter would feel left out because she was the only one in the school not taking the test.

After she hung up with the middle school principal the high school principal sent out a mass email saying that participation was requested from all 9th graders and that the school needed their support. Although it was not directly sent to Mrs. McElroy, she knew it was meant for her. At the end of the email it was said that the students that were not participating in the test would be marked as absent for the day and would not be allowed to be on school grounds while the testing took place. Mrs. McElroy did not complain and did as they were told.

One of the testing days she was picking up her middle school daughter and they were chased down in the parking lot by the assistant principal. He stated that they supported her daughter so why wasn’t she supporting the school. She posed a few questions on Facebook about the matter and got a lot of the “way to go” and “good for you” responses. A few more responses said that maybe they were worried about funding. A few more said that teacher’s pay and jobs depending on the participation of the students on these tests.

Lisa and her husband went with their guts when they made the decision to pull their kids from the testing. She had no idea that she was going to be made to feel guilty about it. Lesson learned!

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2 thoughts on “What Can Happen When You Opt Your Kids Out Of Standardized Tests

  1. Angel

    Exactly what lesson was learned here? Was the lesson that if you chose to opt out of an unnecessary test that puts unnecessary stress on your children the school will bully you? Was the lesson that the school will stoop to passive aggressive antics to try to force you and your child to do things their way? Otherwise, I’m not seeing the lesson here at all.

    I am not a fan of standardized testing. There is no opt out where I live so I encourage my children to do well. They excel time and again. However, should I ever have the opportunity to opt out, I would and would never expect nor would I take kindly to adult running a school bullying me or my children. This mother needs to learn her rights a bit more. I would have gone way above their heads and not tolerated their childish antics.

  2. Ms. McGlothin


    I’m glad these parents stood their ground. I know personally how it feels to take a stand & both you and your children become a target. We need more leaders to expose this type of behavior.

    Great success,
    Ms. McGlothin


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