Hundreds of CPS students refuse to take annual test: parents’ group
BY HANNAH LUTZ February 24, 2014 3:14PM
CPS parent and More than a Score member Cassandra Creswell speaking at this morning's press conference. | Hannah Lutz/Sun-Times
Updated: February 25, 2014 1:21PM
Hundreds of CPS students from 25 schools are refusing to take their annual state achievement test next week, according to a group opposed to some standardized tests.
March 3-14 will mark the last time CPS elementary school students take the Illinois Standard Achievement Test (ISAT), and because it’s the last time, scores won’t count for school ratings, advancement to summer school or the next grade, selective enrollment admission and teacher and principal evaluations.
But of the over 200,000 CPS elementary students, only a small percentage have opted out of the ISAT so far, according to a group of eight parents and teachers at a news conference Monday at CPS headquarters.
Holding signs that read “Our children are more than a score!,” the group encouraged parents to not have their children take the test.
Cassandra Creswell, a Goethe Elementary School parent, said principals have been giving parents misinformation, leading parents to think that their children are not legally allowed to opt out of the ISAT. She said that students should spend their school days in a stronger learning environment.
“We think this is a great time for parents and students to say we are demanding more from our public schools than testing,” said Creswell, of More than a Score, an organization of parents, teachers, students and community members frustrated by CPS testing.
Other parents agreed. Chris Barrett, who has two sons at Drummond Montessori School, said that one of his sons, who is normally an eager student, becomes anxious and withdrawn during testing weeks.
“What happened to our society, where we think tests make a better child, tests make a better student?” he said.
Officials said the No Child Left Behind law requires schools to administer the ISAT but students can choose not to take the test this year. CPS spokesman Joel Hood said he “encourages parents to support their children taking the ISAT.” Hood said that the ISAT will provide teachers with results that could help their instructional planning for next year.
By the 2014-15 school year, ISAT will be replaced by a new nationally available test, the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, which compares Illinois students with their peers nationally and allows schools to get tests results quicker than the ISAT .
Parents can withdraw their children from the ISAT by writing a letter or email to their school principal.