Opt-Outs and Parent Request for Exemption

The following information can be found in section 5 of the 2023-24 Test Administration Manual https://www.oregon.gov/ode/educator-resources/assessment/Documents/test_admin_manual.pdf

5.3 Opt-Outs and Parent Requests for Exemption from State Testing

Opting Out of Statewide Math and ELA Assessments

ORS 329.479 establishes a Student Assessment Bill of Rights permitting parents to annually opt their student(s) out of statewide summative assessments in English Language Arts and Mathematics. This right applies to both general and alternate (Oregon Extended) assessments.

In addition, ORS 329.479 requires school districts and public charter schools to provide supervised study time for students who are opted out of testing.

Opt-Out Eligibility. ORS 329.479 confers a right to opt out of the math and ELA summative assessments on parents. It is a violation of both state and federal law for a local education agency, including school boards, district staff, or school staff, to opt a child out of testing on behalf of a parent.

Communication Protocols

Consistent with the requirements of ORS 329.479, ODE has developed an annual notice (available through ODE’s Test Administration webpage) that describes these assessments, identifies the timeframe when the assessment will most likely be administered, and identifies an adult student’s or parent’s right to excuse the student from testing. Districts and public charter schools must provide parents with the ODE-developed annual notice at the beginning of each school year. In addition, districts and public charter schools must provide parents with separate notice at least 30 days prior to administering the statewide summative assessments in Math and ELA using the ODE-provided 30day notice and opt-out form (also available through ODE’s Test Administration webpage), or a districtcreated form which exactly reproduces the language of the ODE-provided form. School districts and public charter schools must use the language of the 30-day notice and opt-out form provided by ODE to communicate with all parents about state testing requirements and their right to opt-out for high school students by January 8, 2024, and for students in Grades 3-8 by March 4, 2024.

Per OAR 166-400-0060: Student Education Records and OAR 581-022-2270: Individual Student Assessment, Recordkeeping, and Reporting, districts must retain non-federally required student records, such as parent-submitted opt-out forms, for at least three years after the record was created.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the DTC to ensure that communication requirements regarding ORS 329.479 are fulfilled within their district.

While districts may communicate with parents using existing communication protocols—including but not limited to fall registration materials, parent conferences, electronic media, or letters home—ODE encourages districts to account for the following considerations to ensure accurate, consistent communication across classrooms and schools within the district:

  • Establishing a district policy around the administration of the statewide assessments required under both federal and state law, and communicating this policy to all district and school staff to ensure consistent understanding
  • Communicating to all district and school staff about the purpose of the statewide assessments to ensure consistent understanding about the role these assessments play in systems accountability and ensuring equitable opportunities for all Oregon students
  • Ensuring that the entire combined 30-day notice and opt-out form is provided to parents; providing only the opt-out form without the 30-day notice deprives parents with the context needed to make an informed decision about participation and violates state policy.
  • In addition, ODE offers the following examples of appropriate and inappropriate communications regarding opt-out rights. What is critical in these communications is that parents are engaged in the communication and that non-adult students are not subjected to undue influence by educators or staff during working hours.

QAs and QTs are required to follow their district protocol for all Opt Out and Parent Request for Exemption decisions and documentation. Questions and concerns should be directed to District Test Coordinators (DTCs). 

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