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Idaho Bill Would Let Parents Opt Kids Out Of Standardized Test Requirement

Melinda Taber

Idaho parents who don’t want their child to have to pass the state’s standardized test for graduation would be able to opt-out under a bill in the state Senate.

Students would instead be allowed to go through an alternative assessment developed by districts.

“There are some parents that are very concerned by more and more testing,” said bill sponsor Republican Sen. Steven Thayne. “And one reason we’re bringing this bill forward is we’re trying to give a voice to those parents who have concerns.”

Idaho is part of a consortium of states that have adopted the Smarter Balanced or SBAC test. Some parents and educators have complained that the computerized math and language exam is too stressful and does not capture some students’ abilities.

But the head of the Idaho School Boards Association said if enough students opt-out, Idaho could fall out of compliance with the federal government and lose funding. The school boards association also said many districts don’t have an appropriate alternative available that meets current standards.