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Parents in East Newton School District want to opt out of new SB - KOAM TV 7

Parents in East Newton School District want to opt out of new SBAC assessment test

Updated:
The East Newton R-VI School District  will be giving students a pilot version of the SBAC, a new assessment test aligned with Common Core standards.

Several parents spoke out at last night's school board meeting and say they want their kids to have the option to opt out of the test.

Chelsea Talbott's son who has learning disabilities is an elementary student within the district.

Every year, until now, he was able to opt out of testing.

The district adopted a new policy earlier this year.

"I don't think it's fair for his delays now to follow him for the rest of his life, so I would like the opportunity to opt my child out," Talbott said.

School district officials say both federal and state mandates require that 95 percent of students take the assessment test.

"The only way that we can ensure that we have 95 percent of students taking this is to have mandatory testing," said Mark Knight, school board president.

Knight says failing to meet the 95 percent requirement could result in losing federal funding.

"The Missouri state legislature says this is a pilot test and it will not be held against any school district, however, the whole purpose of assessments is to show improvement that could affect your funding and accreditation," Knight said.

Talbott says parents are also concerned about the content on the new SBAC test.

"We have concerns with the data that's being collected on it, not just on our students, but also on our teachers," she said.

Talbott says opting out is a way to show she opposes Amendment 3 on the Missouri November ballot.

"We don't want our teacher evaluations to be tied to our student assessment scores," she said.

School officials say they are currently doing some legal work to examine if a compromise is possible.

"We are just hoping that our local school board will amend the policy to allow us to opt out," Talbott said.

"It's been a very difficult time for our district," Knight said. "It has torn us apart a little bit and hopefully in the near future, we'll get this settled and put behind us."

The SBAC pilot test will be used this year, but Missouri HB1490, which passed over the summer, allows the state to create its own assessment test aligned to Missouri state standards.
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