Standardized testing for students is becoming an increasingly controversial subject in Oklahoma. Now the Oklahoma PTA is encouraging parents to take a stand and opt out of field tests, which are exams or questions that testing companies use for research.
According to the Oklahoma PTA, parents are frustrated with the overwhelming use of standardized tests. Angela Little has two third graders and says she is overwhelmed too.
“Our kids are already over tested,” she said. “There's just entirely too much they have to do that takes away from learning and instructional time.”
And that's exactly why the Oklahoma PTA is encouraging all parents opt out of the field test that this year will be part of the fifth and eighth grade writing assessments.
“There's no benefit to the students, to the school, to the teacher,” said Jeffrey Corbett, President of the Oklahoma PTA. “The only benefit is to the testing company and we think that's wrong. Our children shouldn't be used that way.”
The PTA is asking State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister to inform parents which part of the test is for the field testing. Hofmeister says she shares the frustration parents like Angela feel and she wants to reduce the amount of time spent on tests.
But Hofmeister says she is looking into the legality of revealing the field test sections.
“That's part of what we're looking into is to see what we can do,” said Hofmeister. “We need to be very careful to make sure we are not jeopardizing the validity of the exams. However, I certainly understand how parents feel and as a parent I want to make decisions that are best for my own child and that is the right of every parent.”
And Little says if she can she will exercise that right.
“I think the only way to make a difference is to take a stand.”