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How Americans View the Opt Out Movement

Pizmony-Levy, Oren; Cosman, Benjamin

This report examines public opinion on the Opt Out movement, which came to national prominence in 2015 when 20% of public school students in New York State opted out from taking state standardized tests in mathematics and English language arts. The movement has gained considerable attention from various educational stakeholders, and now Opt Out poses a challenge to a cornerstone of federal and state education policy in the United States: standardized tests. The findings in this report are based on a combination of two online surveys with a national sample of 2,107 adults age 18 and older. The survey was conducted in English in February and May 2017. The survey included an experimental design in which respondents were randomly assigned to three equal-size groups. The first group was asked about parents “excusing their children from state standardized tests,” the second group was asked about parents “opting their children out of state standardized tests,” and the third group was asked about parents “boycotting state standardized tests.” Respondents were recruited through Amazon Mechanical Turk and Qualtrics Panels.


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