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  • Writer's pictureZachary Epps

Boulder Valley School District Changes Stance On Testing

The Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) has an interim superintendent, and she is pressing an agenda to get more students to participate in the statewide testing that began this week and goes through the end of April.

BVSD has one of the highest opt-out rates in the state. Perhaps it’s because students and teachers feel that the time is better spent teaching, instead of taking learning away from valuable learning and education time in the classroom.

Several years ago, when student began refusing to participate in the testing, schools forced families to retrieve their children from the school, such as when my son was in middle school, as the schools refused to provide an alternative learning opportunity for the students.

Eventually BVSD got their head around this and since has been providing on campus alternatives for the many students who wished to study over taking standardized testing.

Now BVSD’s interim superintendent wants to turn that all around. State law restricts districts from imposing sanctions on students who opt out, and from discouraging students from taking the tests. However, changes in the process of opting out, online sign up forms, and confusing communication are making it somewhat of a back-handed press to get students to participate. Additionally, schools are now once again asking parents to keep students home if they choose to opt out of the testing. How well will this work for many families who have both parents working?

While the superintendent makes a push for more participation, under the premise that BVSD needs the data, it’s worthwhile to note that students who don’t participate in the testing don’t affect the districts measured “participation rate”.

Students themselves are the driving force behind this backlash against testing, and it’s not because they’re slackers. It’s been evident from the last three years of discussion that the impetus for resisting testing is based in the students feelings that too much time was devoted to testing which interfered with classroom time, and students felt the tests weren’t very relevant to their education, especially at the junior and senior high level.

The most significant recent shift has been that much of the testing has adjusted towards providing students space to take SAT and PSAT in their high school years. For students who intend to move onward to college, this seems to be a positive move on the part of BVSD.

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