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Roanoke City parent talks about opting out of SOL test - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Roanoke City parent talks about opting out of SOL test

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ROANOKE, VA - Thousands of students across Virginia will begin taking SOL tests soon but some parents could opt their children out of the test.

Liesebet Tausch's children go to Roanoke City Schools. The mother says she decided to opt her daughter out of one of her SOL tests in 2013 and is considering opting her out of all of them this year. Tausch says she wants to send a message to policy makers.

"It's just wrong," Tausch says.  "Children don't like learning anymore.  They don't like going to school and they're taking all the fun away from education."

Students who opt out are given a 0 and it can lower a school's rating.

"All students enrolled in the Virginia public schools are expected to take the applicable state tests," said a 2013 memo to local Superintendents from Virginia Department of Education.

Last year, students took a total of about 2.9 million SOL tests in Virginia.  975 tests were coded to reflect students who opted out or students who didn't finish for disruptive behavior, including 17 Roanoke City students. Roanoke City Schools say only two opted out, and it is a parent’s choice.

“It could potentially hurt the school down the road,” says Justin McLeod, representative for Roanoke City Schools.  “If a certain amount of students choose to opt out, or if the parents choose not to have the students take a test, those are a lot of zeroes and that could hurt a school accreditation.”

McLeod says it is a parent’s choice.

“We acknowledge that it's been sort of a movement that's been going on nationwide,” McLeod said.  “But I don't really see it being a movement per say so far in the Roanoke Valley.  Could that change down the road?  Certainly, and we'll deal with it when it does.”

For younger students SOL scores can be used to decide if students move grades but how much weight the tests carry is up to the local school board. Some SOLs are used as high school graduation requirements.

"It's important for parents to understand the consequences in terms of direct consequences for the student, insight into level of achievement of their student that they would receive from the state assessment," said Charles Pyle, a Virginia Department of Education spokesperson.

CLICK HERE TO READ THE MEMO

The regulations do not provide for what is sometimes referred to as an “opt out policy” for students regarding the Virginia assessments.  If, however, parents refuse to have their student participate in one or more of the required Virginia assessments, the following procedures should be followed within the school division:
  • The parents should be informed that their student’s score report will reflect a score of “0” for any test that is refused.
  • The school is strongly encouraged to request a written statement from parents indicating the specific test(s) the parents refuse to have their student complete. The document should be maintained in the student’s file as a record of the decision.
  • To account for the student, a test record for the refused test(s) is to be submitted for scoring with a Testing Status 5 coded to indicate the refusal to take the test.

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