The Exodus, opting out of Common Core assessments and data collection

This is a post to share with all your friends and neighbors. Not everyone is going to do this, but we need as many people as possible to participate. If you have a child in school, please print out a copy of this form and send it in. Here’s a pdf copy and the text of the document is reproduced below which you can copy/paste into a word processor of your choice.

State National CAT / Data Collection Opt-Out Form (PDF)

To help spread the word, have your children share these small pass-along cards with their friends: My parents opted me out (PDF)

To properly introduce this topic, please check out this short interview clip my good friend Ken Cromar made for a documentary he’s making called Miracles. It’s an interview segment he did with Rabbi Daniel Lapin and it’s what we need right now to understand Miracles come after we take action. Please take action today. We need massive amounts of parents to opt-out of these assessments



State/National CAT/Data Collection Opt-Out Form




First, I, _____________________, as the parent/guardian of ___________________, have a  “fundamental liberty interest” in the care, custody and welfare of my child as codified in Utah Code §62A-4a-201. In exercise thereof, I hereby elect to exclude my child from participating in all computer adaptive tests (CAT) administered by or through Utah’s public education system (including but not limited to MAP/CRT/AIR/NWEA assessments) which are optional or required by the state for standardized testing. Utah code §62A-4a-201 states:

(d) The state recognizes that:
(i) a parent has the right, obligation, responsibility, and authority to raise, manage, train, educate, provide for, and reasonably discipline the parent’s children; and
(ii) the state’s role is secondary and supportive to the primary role of a parent.
(e) It is the public policy of this state that parents retain the fundamental right and duty to exercise primary control over the care, supervision, upbringing, and education of their children.

I take this action to protect the privacy and welfare of my child because these examinations contain behavioral testing1 which I believe is a violation of state law2 and the individual results are tracked in a statewide longitudinal database system (SLDS) which is accessible by the federal government and private entities3, used for school grading4, and allows my child’s personal information to be individually identifiable5. In taking this action, I recognize the state office may label my child as non-proficient6 which has negative repercussions.

I believe these tests are fundamentally flawed by attempting to test students on material to which they may have never been exposed. The fact that the exams are confidential7 so no one may examine the questions before or after a child takes the exam and that they provide psychometric feedback from embedded behavioral questions, are unacceptable to me as a parent.8

Second, I further opt my child out of any and all surveys that contain personal, financial, or any other information on our family, and from any other type of data collection method that would contain personal, private, and confidential information (eg. DNA collection).

To the extent that the above named school now, or in the future, possesses any data on my child, I do not give permission for such data to be passed to the state unless it is de-identified, aggregate data combined with that of many other students.

When CAT’s are given to my child’s class, I request that my child be provided an alternative exam that will be graded by my child’s teacher, or, alternatively, that my child be allowed to spend that time in quiet study.

I further request that the school keep a copy of this document in my child’s school file and that the school acknowledge my rights and their intent to support my decision by signing below and returning a copy to me.

Finally, this action is not intended to be an indication of my opinion regarding the quality of my child’s teacher(s), or of the school, but as a statement that my family refuses to participate in any activity that further erodes our privacy. I respect and appreciate your work in educating my child.

Please provide a copy to each of my son/daughter’s teachers who administer CAT assessments so they are aware that my child needs an alternate activity during testing.

Please contact me via email __________________ or phone ________________ if you have any questions.




____________________               ___________                       ___________

School Official Signature                       Title                                         Date


1- (line 66)

2- Utah Code Title 53A Section 302

3- (page 13) and


5- (pg. 17)

6- At the 8/2/2013 Utah State Board of Education meeting, amendments to SB 271 were made to label students non-proficient if they failed to take the CAT standardized assessments

7- (search “confidential”)


32 thoughts on “The Exodus, opting out of Common Core assessments and data collection”

  1. So, what kind of negative effect will this leave on a teenager’s ‘report card’. For example, my daughter has straight A’s and is planning on attending a good school (ie BYU). By her not taking the test will it hurt her chances getting into BYU? Thanks!

    1. I’m not certain, but sending in the form shouldn’t affect scholarship opportunities, but if the state marks your child as non-proficient it could.

      1. I have been told by Brian Halladay, an ASD board member, that Vern Henshaw stated that no student will be adversely affected in his grades or classes if they opt out of the CAT testing.

      2. Clarification. The non-proficient score for a child not taking the exam, doesn’t hit the transcript. It goes against the school in the school grading the state does based on the AIR/SAGE tests. Children should move forward with clean transcripts.

  2. This is great!! Thanks so much for doing this. I have been looking for an opt-out form.

    I have one suggestion. In the paragraph where it says:

    “When CAT’s are given to my child’s class, I request that my child be provided an alternative exam that will be graded by my child’s teacher, or, alternatively, that my child be allowed to spend that time in quiet study.”

    I think it would be appropriate to state that if the alternative exam is given it is first approved by the parent.

    1. Understood. However, if it’s an alternative test, it shouldn’t be computer adaptive because they’ve already opted out of that. It should be pencil and paper in class.

  3. Thank you! I was just reformating my letters and again my prayers are answered after I have begun to put action to what is important to our family. Our position as parents who love their children, work to educate them well and protect them before they are fully ready to make these choices on their own–is a parent’s job. The government doesn’t wish to admit this but they need parents who step up to serve this way and furthermore produce and contribute to their community

  4. Hi. I attended the meeting in Cedar City on Thursday Sept 5 and am so thankful I did. I really appreciate all your time and energy in regards to fighting Common Core. There was a red flyer that was handed out that night. I am wondering how I can get more of those. I would like to pass them along to friends, neighbors, family, basically anyone who will take the time to read it. I have not heard from any one local here who opposes this curriculum and I want to spread the word. Will you be coming down to the StGeorge/Hurricane area anytime soon to share your presentation? I would be very interested in pursuing that option.
    Thanks for your time.
    Cami Bohne

    1. Thanks so much for coming to the presentation in Cedar City. Push the contact us button and send me your email so we can get in touch to set something up. Thanks

  5. This is very well done. Thank you. I feel the most important thing we can do it to get people to opt out. This has a great deal of power. Without the tests, there is no datamining. It shuts down both in 1 fatal blow.
    What do you think of excluding all surveys, regardless. Are there ANY surveys that would be appropriate? I always suggest to people to take 2 copies, one to leave with the school, and the other to have the administartion sign and take home, so you have a copy to verify you opted out. Things like that have a habit of disappearing when convenienct.

    Thank you, Dalane

  6. I’m sure there is a plethora of psychologists (if not school psychologists) that can administer a number of other reading, writing and math assessments which would document that a child is “proficient” even if he/she recieves a “non-proficient” rating by opting out. The tried and true tests of achievement include the Stanford Achievement Test, 10th edition (this has been administered for over 80 years and covers Reading, Math, Science, Language, Spelling, Social Science and Listening— for grades k-12). Other options include the Iowa Basics test, Basic Achievement Skills Inventory, TerraNova Second Edition (CAT6) and the Metropolitan Achievement Test, 8th Edition. None of these require huge investments of taxpayer funds or behavioral markers. If enough of us opt-out and request one of these alternate tests, (which will document proficiency) it will at least give some hungry attorney enough of a case to sue all the parties responsible for harming your child with a “non-proficient” label.

  7. Are these tests only for math and English? My children attend public school part-time only, mostly for electives and a few science classes.

  8. How can we use this form with a charter umbrella? They say if we opt out, we have violated our contract with them and we would then be responsible to reimburse them for monies spent for tuition, books, etc. So even though the monies come out of the same funds used for public school, it appears we have no legal recourse. Can you shed some light on this subject please? Thank you!

    1. I would start off asking them where it says that. I know of no law, or agreement you sign with a charter school that requires you to take this test. Get the document before you believe them.

  9. As far as I understand it, computer adaptive testing begins in 3rd grade…. is that correct? Would you suggest sending the Opt-Out form if we have children K-2 as well? Thank you so much for the hours of research you have done & for the time it took to put together this form!

  10. I turned in my opt-out letter today. It’s not a decision I made lightly. I hope many others will do the same as we need to all stand up together in order to make a difference. Thanks for all those who put so much effort into researching and standing up for us all.

  11. I just got an email from my daughter’s school about the PLAN test which they say is a practice ACT test that all sophomores must take. Does anyone know what the PLAN test is?

  12. Kaylene, unless something has changed recently, the PLAN is a practice ACT. It is a lot shorter but has each of the four subject areas. It will forecast a range in which your daughter will score on the ACT. The test should be returned to you a period of time after she takes it with her booklet and an answer sheet showing your daughter’s answers and the correct answer on any question she may have answered incorrectly. That way you can go over questions with her. I found it helpful because often they answer incorrectly because of misreading or being too hurried etc. You can go over concepts she might not have understood as well. You can also talk about test taking strategies. Hope that helps!

  13. Mr.Norton,
    Provo Eschool, also known as is one of those charter schools that threatens to pull students out of their school and demand their money back if they don’t take the tests. The person I talked to stated that as a charter school they were required to demand all the testing of their students at 100% in return for all the other flexibility they are allowed. This is what we are told we have agreed to as part of signing up for this charter school:

    One of the requirements of our tuition-free, home-based, personalized learning program is to participate in all mandatory state tests (hosted on a local computer proctored by a school representative).

    For the 2013-14 school year, all students will be required to take the corresponding tests listed below (which varies by grade and class schedule). Test dates and locations will be announced in advance.

    Grade Required Tests Month More info
    1st grade Reading (DIBELS) – Extra Reading Resources Sept / Jan / May Link
    2nd grade Reading (DIBELS) – Extra Reading Resources Sept / Jan / May Link
    3rd grade Reading (DIBELS) – Extra Reading Resources Sept / Jan / May Link
    3rd grade Language Arts and Math April or May Link
    4th grade Language Arts, Math and Science April or May Link
    5th grade Writing (DWA) February Link
    5th grade Language Arts, Math and Science April or May Link
    6th grade Language Arts, Math and Science April or May Link
    7th grade Language Arts, Math and Science April or May Link
    8th grade Writing (DWA) February Link
    8th grade Language Arts, Math and Science April or May Link
    9th grade English 9 + course-specific Math and Science April or May Link
    10th grade English 10 + course-specific Math and Science April or May Link
    11th grade English 11 + course-specific Math and Science April or May Link
    11th grade College Entrance Exam (i.e. ACT/SAT) Varies Link
    12th grade Course-specific Math and Science April or May Link

    Here is information regarding the new Utah SAGE assessments:

    Subjects tested by grade level remain the same.
    The rights for parents to personalize their child’s education remain the same.
    Public schools will continue to be evaluated (and funded) by the collective academic performance of all students.
    Students will continue to access test prep resources to help them prepare.
    Laws regarding privacy of student test scores remain the same (i.e. FERPA).
    Schools will continue to send anonymous, aggregate data to the State/Fed (i.e. John Doe, Male, 12).
    The only data collected by the school is from the initial enrollment packet.
    No other type of data is tracked, collected, or stored as part of the test/
    The SAGE testing format will now be adaptive vs. fixed (i.e. test questions vary based on individual answers).
    By the end of 11th grade, all students need to complete a college entrance exam (i.e. ACT or SAT).
    New “Accessibility Features” are available to ALL students (no IEP required):
    Extended time and breaks
    Questions read aloud with personal audio headset
    Small group setting
    Several others may be available

    See letter from AIR, the SAGE testing provider

    Download a Utah State SAGE Overview or contact the Utah State Office of Education.

    When I tried to opt my two kids out, he immediately threatened to kick them out of the program.

    Wendee Valentine

  14. I turned this in to my child’s principle last week. I talked to him today and he told me he talked to the district and they said that by law they need to test my child. He said they can not honor my request and I have two choices, testing my child or pulling her out of their school. Any suggestions about hiw to deal with this? (Besides just telling me to homeschool. That is an open discussion at my house)

    1. I don’t have answers for your specific situation. I do want to share what happened in my situation. I also turned in my CAT opt-out form last week. I asked to speak to my principal (high school) but she was unavailable at the time so I left my form with a note asking for a signature. She called me a couple of days ago. Her response was so positive and supportive. Her first concern was for my child. She wanted to clarify my expectations for each test which will be administered. In so doing, I told her I was opting out of all computerized tests. She clarified that the ACT, PLAN, and of course AP and IB tests are all pen and paper tests so will be unaffected by opting out of CAT. My daughter will be given alternative CRT’s which will not be computerized. I received a copy of my letter in the mail today, signed and showing the notes she took per our conversation on the phone. She and I agree on a lot of issues. I am so glad I had the opportunity to talk with her because I feel reassured that we both have my daughter’s best interests at heart. I wanted to share this so others might feel empowered to also have a conversation with their teachers and administrators. The rest of my children are not attending public schools.

  15. Mr. Norton,

    Is this form still a valad way to opt out of all CAT testing or do we have to fill out the form on the Utah State Board of Education site?
    Also, on the Secondary Assessments opt out form there are 15 test’s listed, including 9 which say they are SAGE test’s. How do I find out if the other 6 tests listed are CAT, behavioral testing, or if the individual results are being tracked in a SLDS (data collecting)?

  16. Mr. Norton,

    Is this form still a valid way to opt out of all CAT testing, or do we need to fill out the form from the Utah State Board of Education site? The form above seems to cover any and all tests we have issue with, but on the Secondary Assessments opt out form from the State Education site there are 15 tests (listed separately) to opt out of. 9 of these actually say they are SAGE tests but the remaining 6 do not say CAT or SAGE. How can we find out if they are or if any of them have, behavioral testing, or individual result tracking in an SLDS (data collecting)?


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