No juniors show up to take SBAC at Seattle high school

SEATTLE -- Not a single 11th grade student showed up to take the SBAC test at Nathan Hale High School this week, a Seattle Public Schools spokesperson confirmed.

The news that 100% of the 11th graders opted out of the test was first reported on an education blog.

State Superintendent Randy Dorn released a statement Friday on the potential "fallout" from students opting out of testing. Dorn said there could be academic and financial consequences for the state of Washington if students don't take the SBAC.

"No test is perfect. But the Smarter Balanced tests, with their emphasis on real-world skills, are better than any standardized test our state has administered before," Dorn said in a statement.

He said without the testing results, educators will have a harder time identifying learning gaps in the student population and that results will be less reliable. Dorn also pointed to federal expectations, saying that without a 95% participation rate, the Department of Education could cut funding to schools and label Washington as "high risk."

"The decision to refuse testing doesn't just affect the individual student. It affects students across the state," said Dorn. "If you don't like the federal law, don't refuse to have your child take the tests; call your U.S. representative and senators and tell them to change the law."

Earlier this year, teachers at Nathan Hale passed a resolution against in the Common Core Standards test, but SPS Superintendent Larry Nyland threatened teachers with the loss of their teaching licenses if they didn't administer the test, according to the Seattle Education blog.

There are two more days of testing next week, according to SPS spokesperson Stacy Howard. She said the district would address the opt out numbers once testing was finished.

SPS reported that over 100 juniors also declined to take the test at Garfield High School earlier in April, and a number of parents and teachers have spoken out against the exam.

Students who opt out will receive a "0" as their score, which will impact the passing rate for the school.

Washington state public schools are required to give the Smarter Balanced Assessment test to meet the federal requirements of No Child Left Behind.


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