A New Resistance to Standardized Tests

A fresh national movement to oppose the standardized testing of young students is afoot. The Bartleby Project aims to invalidate state test results by getting parents and their children to simply opt out of testing; if enough did so, that would make schools’ yearly progress ratings meaningless.

The campaign takes its name from the eponymous hero of Herman Melville’s short tale of even-tempered protest against soul-crushing, bureaucratic drudgery, “Bartleby the Scrivener.” Upon being asked to help examine copies of a newly prepared legal document, Bartleby mildly informs his employer: “I would prefer not to.” –ARK

Education Week Teacher:

Which means empowering parents to make bold decisions, beginning with exercising their right to pull their kids out of destructive and unnecessary standardized testing. According to Dr. Yong Zhao, it would take a 6% opt-out rate to make state standardized test results invalid; when less than 95% of any student population takes a test, the data is incomplete and not useable, under NCLB. It also means the school’s AYP rating is threatened.

Think about that, for just a minute. Schools want all kids to take tests, because not taking the test could cause negative publicity for the district. [It] Doesn’t have anything to do with the only valid purpose for testing children–to tell us what kids know, to inform further instruction. It’s all about preserving a school’s public standing, in the shame/blame game created by a reviled federal law.

… There are now national movements to encourage and support parents who opt their children out of standardized testing:

“The Bartleby Project begins by inviting 60,000,000 American students, one by one, to peacefully refuse to take standardized tests or to participate in any preparation for these tests; it asks them to act because adults chained to institutions and corporations are unable to; because these tests pervert education, are disgracefully inaccurate, impose brutal stresses without reason, and actively encourage a class system which is poisoning the future of the nation.”

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