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Standardized Testing - Opting Out


A good public education gives a student time to learn and a teacher time to teach and inspire a student’s natural curiosity. No bubble test can measure a kid’s curiosity. Read MEA's position on opting out and assessment here.

After MEA members shared their stories on how the Smarter Balanced Assessment impacted teaching and learning, taking valuable time away from teaching, the MEA worked with lawmakers and parent advocates to help change the course of testing in Maine. The MEA advocated for a bill that would eliminate the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment immediately. Below is a summary of the bill, which mandates that any new test that is selected be done so with direct teacher input.

Summary of the bill that eliminates Smarter Balanced:

  1. Directs the Department of Education to terminate the State's membership in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium and adopt a method of education assessment that complies with federal law but does not collect or disseminate personal data and attributes of students, such as attitudes, values, motivations, stereotypes or feelings;
  2. Requires that a state assessment of student achievement be developed with direct input from teachers, parents and school boards and specifically address the needs of students and citizens of the State;
  3. Requires that personally identifying data of a student derived from a state assessment of student achievement be disseminated only with the express written permission of each of the student's parents or guardians;
  4. Requires that the State's participation in or entrance into an agreement with an organization, consortium or association in establishing or implementing standards and a state assessment of student performance be done through major substantive rules; and
  5. Prohibits a state assessment of student achievement from being aligned with the so-called common core state standards initiated and adopted by several states

As educators, we really must ask ourselves: What is best for students? Too much focus on standardized testing takes up valuable time spent on learning. We should be focusing on the needs of our students instead of threatening them with the idea they won’t receive a diploma if they don’t check off enough boxes on some online standardized test, assuming the technology even works. The MEA will continue to talk to policymakers at every level and we will not cease in advocating against the inappropriate use and overreliance of standardized testing in our schools.

Download printable version of an Opt Out letter here

For more information or questions about high-stakes testing in Maine, e-mail

Standardized Testing Links:

Sample Opt Out Letter

Standardized Testing Facts

MEA's Position on Opting Out and Assessment

For more information or questions e-mail

“We are testing kids to death. As a parent, I opted my third grader out of all standardized testing. I trust my daughter’s teachers and our public school. I know my child is getting a great education; I don’t need a test to prove that to me. As a teacher, I can’t bear to see kids who are anxious, knowing they have to take yet another test. Our students are more than data--no bubble test can measure a kids’ curiosity. It’s time we say “no” to the flawed testing system and “yes” to instilling a love of learning in our children.” Jamie Watson, Lewiston Parent and South Portland teacher.


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