LaWanda Toney, Strategic Communications Director
Position calls for all students to participate in high-quality, comprehensive assessments
ALEXANDRIA, Va., (Jan. 21, 2016) — As movements to opt children out of assessments have increased, National PTA’s board of directors adopted a new position statement on student assessment and opt-out policies during its January board meeting. The statement calls for all students to participate in high-quality, comprehensive assessments that measure their growth and achievement so all children have the opportunity to reach their full potential.
“Assessments provide valuable information that is used to guide instruction and other educational decisions to better meet the needs of students and ensure they receive necessary resources and supports that prepare them for long-term success,” said James L. Accomando, president-elect of National PTA. “We highly value family engagement in education and respect the rights of parents to make decisions on behalf of their children, however, National PTA believes the consequences of non-participation in state assessments can have detrimental impacts on students and schools.”
As outlined in the position statement, National PTA does not support state and district policies that allow students to be opted out of required state assessments that are designed to improve teaching and learning. Non-participation can result in a loss of funding and diminished resources and interventions for students, which would have a disparate impact on minorities and students with special needs and widen the achievement gap. Opting out also stalls innovation by inhibiting effective monitoring and improvement of programs, exams and instructional strategies, and could thwart transparency by providing incomplete data for states, districts and schools.
National PTA recommends that:
- States and school districts clearly articulate to parents the assessment and accountability system in place at their child’s school, including required assessments, their purpose, when they will occur and when results will be available.
- Schools and families engage in meaningful, two-way communication regarding assessments, including how schools and families can work together to use the data to support student growth and learning.
- States and school districts conduct audits of their assessment systems to reduce low-quality, misaligned and redundant exams.
National PTA supports state assessment systems that are appropriately aligned with each state’s academic standards. The association believes a sound and comprehensive assessment system should include multiple measures of student growth and achievement that reflect the knowledge and skills students need when they graduate to make certain they are ready for college and/or the workplace.
“When used appropriately, assessments provide critical data to support student learning and readiness for postsecondary education and the workforce,” added Shannon Sevier, vice president of advocacy for National PTA. “It is essential that families, educators, school leaders and policymakers work together and are stewards of effective assessment systems to ensure all children receive a high-quality education that enables them to reach their full potential.”
About National PTA
National PTA® comprises millions of families, students, teachers, administrators, and business and community leaders devoted to the educational success of children and the promotion of parent involvement in schools. PTA is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit association that prides itself on being a powerful voice for all children, a relevant resource for families and communities, and a strong advocate for public education. Membership in PTA is open to anyone who wants to be involved and make a difference for the education, health, and welfare of children and youth.