State Testing Opt-Out Information
Statewide assessments are useful and valid tools that assist the MDE, the SBE, and the Mississippi Legislature in evaluating schools, school districts, and generally the progress that we are making in raising the level and quality of education across our state. Statewide testing is so important that it has actually been codified in state law (Miss. Code § 37-16-1, et seq.). Along with the MDE, every school district state is required to "periodically assess student performance and achievement in each school" (Miss. Code § 37-16-5). Mississippi law mandates that "basic skills tests shall be completed by each student" and "in the event of excused or unexcused absences, make-up tests shall be given" (Miss. Code § 37-16-3 (2)). In summary, student assessments are not an option, they are a requirement. School districts are not required to provide alternative activities on testing days for students whose parents do not want them to take scheduled tests.
The SBE has selected the Mississippi College and Career Ready Standards for use in determining the readiness of our students for advancement, college preparedness, and career advancement. These standards identify the goals for what students should know at each grade level. Students enrolled in our public schools will be taught these standards. These standards are an integral part of daily instruction in our schools. There is no provision for students to "opt-out" of daily classroom instruction.
The assessments or testing do not alter the daily classroom instruction that your student receives. The assessment, to an extent, reflects the ability to communicate the standards and the level of comprehension of the standards by our students. The assessment is a valuable tool for the school, our school district, as well as to you and your student. The report you receive may help you evaluate whether your student is on track in acquiring the educational skills necessary to prepare them for college or success in a profession or occupation.
Our local school board has the same authority that it did prior to the adoption of the new standards by the SBE. Decisions about how to teach the standards, such as curriculum, tools, materials, and textbooks, continue to be made by our school district and our school leaders who know our students best.