Thursday, March 24, 2016

Opting In

During yesterday's professional development session, we were reminded of a fun fact.

In the state of Pennsylvania, you can't give a child an IQ test without parental permission.

The IQ test. Controversial and highly debatable, but well know, moderately well understood, and extensively tested over the decades. Everybody kind of knows what it's for and what it measures. A longstanding part of the educational landscape.

And yet-- the school cannot give your child that test without your permission.

Imagine if we did that with the Big Standardized Test in every state. Imagine if we recognized parental authority when it came to administering Big Standardized Tests to children. Imagine if the state and the school had to get parental permission before administering to your child the PARCC or SBA or PSSA or WhateverTheHellAnagramYourStateIsPlayingAt. Imagine if the people fighting so hard against opt out had to fight to get everyone to opt in.

Could they make a case for the tests? Could they convince parents that there is some useful reason for building an educational system around high stakes testing?

We know the answer. They know the answer. That's why they've kept making sure that the force of law is behind the BS Tests.

But if I have to ask permission to give an IQ test, why not the same for the BS Test?


  1. What an excellent idea! And makes perfect sense.

  2. Great idea....if we have to get permission for any test we give sped students to justify eligibility and it has to remain confidential, why doesn't the same standard apply to standardized tests that collect and retain a lot of personal information about each child!

  3. This is a fantastic point that I had never considered before. I think the perceived difference has more to do with the success of testing companies and their ability to fully inundate students and parents with tests. I graduated from high school only three years ago and I can distinctly remember fully believing in the power of testing. Not so much that they were valuable to my success, more so that they would be able to accurately judge my performance ability and subsequently determine my future. I would never put so much weight on an IQ test. It was not until I began my undergraduate degree in education that I realized how brainwashed I had been by testing. Students and parents blindly accept that standardized tests are necessary, but if my school had proposed an IQ test as well, I know my parents would have been firmly against it. The question brought up is incredibly important and points to the bigger issue in education. Students, parents, and teachings are becoming desensitized to the drawbacks of standardized testing. There needs to be more questions asked before students are forced to blindly take more and more tests.

  4. Follow the money. IQ tests (and other psychometric tests) are only given to a handful of students each year. The BS test, on the other hand, generates billions for the testing industry...and if the law says everyone has to take it, then the money is guaranteed year after year.