Refuse the Tests: How to Opt Out of 2023 State Testing


Download FAQ & opt out/refusal letter in English, Spanish and Chinese


Frequently Asked Questions for grades K-8

What is state testing in Illinois for Grades 3–8?

State testing in Illinois for Grades 3–8 consists of a series of tests. Nearly all students in Grades 3–8 take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), which tests students in English Language Arts and Mathematics. Students in Grades 5 and 8 also take a science test (ISA). Students with severe learning disabilities take a different test, called the DLM-AA. Students who are English Language Learners also take a test called ACCESS, which tests their proficiency with the English language.

I Am Refusing sticker

How can my child opt out of taking the state tests in 2023?

In Illinois, a parent can inform the school that a child will not be participating in state testing but, according to the IL State Board of Education guidance, children must refuse the test themselves. We recommend that the parent submit a letter to the school indicating that the child will not take the state tests. However, the child must also inform the teacher that she or he will not be taking the tests. You can use these sample letters to opt out of the tests:

Will my child be penalized for not taking the test?

No. There are no consequences for not testing and your child should not be punished for opting out of the state test.

Will state tests help my child or school in 2023?

Schools and teachers gather better information from everyday instruction than from standardized testing for helping your child learn. In addition, the delays in getting test results to schools mean they will not provide information that can be used to help your child this year.

Are there negative consequences for their school if my child opts out?

Schools may receive a lower accountability rating, but, since 2015, there have been no punitive consequences attached to those ratings for schools. In fact schools with lower ratings receive more support including, potentially, additional funding. No school has ever lost funding due to low participation.

Continued complicity with a system where state standardized testing disrupts learning is far more damaging to our public schools than families refusing the tests.

What will my child do when tests are being administered to other children?

Students should be given an alternative educational activity while other children are taking the test.

(Print the I Am Refusing image as Avery 6874 stickers)

Want to learn more? Read our main issue page on standardized testing here. Questions? Email [email protected] or call 773-916-7794