Thiesfeldt Proposes Legislation on Testing Opt Outs

State Rep. Jeremy Thiesfeldt (R-Fond du Lac), chairman of the Assembly Education Committee, and state Sen. Duey Stroebel (R-Cedarburg) are proposing legislation to, upon request of a parent or guardian, a school board, an independent charter school, and taxpayer subsidized private school must excuse a pupil enrolled in any grade from 3 to 12 from taking any state standardized exams.  It would also remove the penalty that exists on the current state report cards if schools fail to test 95% of their student body.

The bill draft would also require all schools to provide the parent or guardian of each pupil a written summary of information about those tests and post the information on their website if they have one.

In a memo to fellow legislators Thiesfeldt states:

This legislation is needed to clear up the inconsistent application of Wisconsin’s “opt out” provision regarding required statewide summative assessments.  As you may know, the Badger Exam (math and English language arts) is currently being administered to all students in grades 3-8, the WKCE (social studies and science) to grades 4, 8 and 10, the ACT Aspire to grades 9-10, and the ACT to grade 11.  Some school districts have interpreted this to mean that since state statute 118.30 only dictates testing in grades 4, 8, 9, 10, and 11, that the opt-out provision provided in 118.30 (2) (b) 3 applies to only those grades as well.  Consequently, these districts claim to hold the authority to compel all students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7 to take the exam.  The DPI website has posted information backing up this inconsistency. 

The bill draft is currently being circulated to other legislators looking for support.  Stay tuned to the WASB Legislative Update for updates on this proposal.