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Possible opting out of state tests in PA~ What do you think? (cross-posted)

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 

Here is the link to the Bartleby Project, by John Taylor Gatto, where children basically are COs and simply write "I prefer not to take your test" on the answer sheet.  Then I guess the parent can turn in the test result of 0% as required by law.

 

http://bartlebyproject.com/

 

 

 

As for as the law, 22 Pa. Admin. Code § 4.4(d)(5) states: (5)  If upon inspection of State assessments parents or guardians find the assessment in conflict with their religious belief and wish their students to be excused from the assessment, the right of the parents or guardians will not be denied upon written request to the applicable school district superintendent, charter school chief executive officer or AVTS director.

 

 

I heard a mom named Michele Gray used this law for her public schooled children, so I don't see any reason why any family couldn't use it.  Otherwise it would be discrimination, right?

 

 

What do you think?  =)

Any help or information would be really appreciated!

post #2 of 10

You might get more discussion of this specific to PA, by joining PA-Unschoolers yahoo group.  I plan to have my children take the tests, as this isn't something that's important enough to me to rock the boat on.  I know that they don't count for anything so that's part of it.

 

Best wishes,

Sus

post #3 of 10

In PA public schools, the kids all take the same test, the PSSA.  Home schooled kids get to choose from among about 6 tests.  You would have to look at each of those tests and find them all in conflict of your religious beliefs.  That would be expensive just for starters since it would require buying the tests that you are permitted to buy directly and it would require signing up (for a fee) to take the tests that must be administered by someone with credentials or training. 

 

IMHO, people worry about these tests more than necessary.  I ordered the CAT, the version with just language arts, reading, and math.  Ds was able to take it at home over the course of a week or so.  He just did a section whenever he was in a good frame of mind.  He was barely reading when he took the first required test (grade 3, age 8 1/2) and he did average or above average in everything.  I did make sure he understood how to take the test, to rule out answers he knew were wrong and to guess from the rest if he didn't know.  I explained it was just some paperwork that had to be done (he has certainly seen me do a fair bit of such required paperwork for homeschooling, taxes, health insurance, etc to understand).  I didn't talk with him at all about scoring or whether his answers were right or wrong.  It didn't have much impact on him though he was a little frustrated while doing the reading comprehension part.

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies.  It does make me feel better about it all.

 

I just don't like the idea of the testing, for a lot of moral/ethical/religious reasons (I know you might feel the same way!).  We didn't have to test in our other state, and so have never done it.  My oldest is a perfectionist and he knows what the tests are about, and I think it will bother him.  My second is very right-brained and I can't see it helping her self-confidence, if you know what I mean.  I was actually thinking of just turning in 0%s for them (having the blank test scored so I had 'results' to turn in), but I don't suppose it's worth it to get the red flag on us from the school district.

 

I just hate so much about the idea of it all, but I think the dumbest thing is that it doesn't even score your child based on your child.  Aside from all the testing scandals, all the test does (from what I understand) is rank your child against other children their age.  It just seems so demeaning, not just trying to even do your best and getting an actual score, but just getting rated against others, yk? 

 

Maybe they all aren't like that..?  We are going to go with the CAT because that is apparently what everyone I know does =) and it's affordable, and we can do it here at home.

 

I just have to say one more time =) that the homeschool laws in PA are just ridiculous.  They really, really are.  The bureaucracy of all their required paperwork, etc, is all such a waste of time.  I really don't see the point of the failing public schools having any jurisdiction over the people who choose to opt out.  Just venting, for what it's worth.

 

post #5 of 10

In PA, too.  We are not even close to filling out any school paperwork & I already know it will be ridiculous.  However, this is a lovely place to live and almost everyone we know lives here, so not moving anytime soon (if ever) :)  I do wish They would just MYOB, though, that would be nice.

 

The ONLY reason I would worry about opting out or scoring a zero is b/c if you get "too many" low scores, don't they investigate you or something?  Doesn't a poor test have to show improvement next time in order for Them not to intrude on your life?  I don't want my kids tested, but I certainly don't need any drama :p

post #6 of 10

 

 

Quote:
The ONLY reason I would worry about opting out or scoring a zero is b/c if you get "too many" low scores, don't they investigate you or something?  Doesn't a poor test have to show improvement next time in order for Them not to intrude on your life?  I don't want my kids tested, but I certainly don't need any drama :p

 

 

each district has their own way of dealing with it

 

you (MOST require this) do an evaluation (per the law) and that must show progress so if one is showing (the evaluation) and the testing is not---it sill comes down to IF the district catches it and what way they proceed against you

 

the way the "law" is written any time can the district request to see your HS "papers" and even years you do not test they can call into question your evaluation / assessment (some call it your review) 

 

some districts are laid back other's are not

 

personally if my child could not pass the test, be it what the local district is giving or what ever one you choose- it would concern me and I would have known prior where my child was at so I would have a clear understanding of how the outcome would have been

 

for the most part you pick what tests you want, you don't get that in most PS in the state

 

depending on what hill you want to die over

 

my big issue is the district "keeping" scores that they did nothing to earn is my problem with it, my DD tested grades above - the 3rd grade test was even waved for her-she only did 5 & 8th

 

my DD needed to do testing-it helped her later on in college so it was never an issue, we did non-reported tests as well

post #7 of 10

FWIW, the CAT (from Seton) sends back scores that have the total number of questions, total number answered correctly, percentile score (how your child compares to other kids taking that test at that time, and something called Stanine which is also a type of relative standing to other kids.  The categories of the test are vocabulary, comprehension, language mechanics, language expression, math computation, and math concept and application.  Those are each given a score.  Then there is a score for reading total, language total, and math total.

 

Theoretically, if your child scores 10% on the 3rd grade test and then scores 10% on the 5th grade test, s/he is showing sustained progress in their home education program.  What might have the school district looking twice is if a child scores 75% on the 3rd grade test and 10% on the 5th grade test because that does not show progress.  There is no pass or fail on the test (people keep referring to passing the test...).  You can order the test more than once and only turn in the best score, if you want.  Some people like to do the test in the fall which means the subject matter is from the grade before (fall 3rd graders would take a test on 2nd grade material).  And then they can take another test in the spring if desired.  The better results are turned into the school district.  I'm not advocating taking more tests but just putting it out there for people who think it would help with anxiety.  Do a fall "practice" test.  Then don't bother redoing it if the scores are adequate.

post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 

4evermom,

That is good advice.  I always appreciate what you have to say~ Thank you!

You are always a voice of calm reassurance about HSing in PA, which helps when my mind is in panic over all these new-to-us regulations.

post #9 of 10

Glad I can be of help:)  I'm lucky that I happen to live in a school district that doesn't want to see portfolios so I just have to show a few samples to a fellow unschooler who is an evaluator.  And though my son does everything late (reading, writing, computation), he is advanced in other areas (understanding concepts) and can make educated guesses and estimates with things like tests.  The worst part of homeschooling in PA is that everyone is so worried about the regulations that most find unschooling to scary to attempt.  I'm the odd duck at parkday with everyone talking curriculum and what they make their kids do for their own good!

post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 

I am an odd duck here too. 

 

I think we are HOMEschoolers surrounded by many homeSCHOOLers... =)

 

Thankfully, we are finding our place though.


Edited by Climbing Rose - 10/22/11 at 5:27pm
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