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September 30, 2016

About 135,000 students opted out of last year’s PARCC standardized tests, according to a study by the state Department of Education, making clear that the choice to avoid the tests was a movement —and not a scattered boycott.

Opt-out rates were progressively higher from elementary to middle to high schools in both English language arts and mathematics. The study also found that affluent school districts were more likely to have higher opt-out rates. According to the report, there was more than one reason for the mass opt-outs: There is skepticism with high-stakes testing in general and the new PARCC assessment in particular; parents are concerned about the Common Core State Standards rollout; the teachers union opposes what they see as premature teacher accountability measures; and there is confusion in the messages from state policymakers about graduation requirements.

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