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Student Assessment & Opt Out Rights

Advocating at the state and local policy level to support family opt out rights and minimizing the use of student assessment results to make high-stakes decisions.

Know Your Opt-Out Rights

OEA believes Oregon must have a balanced system of assessment that includes formative, interim, and summative assessments. Formative assessment practices – those done in classrooms by educators with students to guide day-to-day instruction – holds the most promise for impacting student learning. In formative assessments, students are the most important people who need to use the information to understand where they are in their learning journey, where they need to get to and how to get there.

Unfortunately, education systems for too long have prioritized statewide summative assessment results as the most important data in schools. While this data can help guide decisions at the state and district level, the data is far less meaningful at the student level.

OEA advocates for:

  • Increased funding for quality formative assessments at the classroom level;
  • Quality implementation of formative assessment practices to promote student learning;
  • Reducing and eliminating decisions made about student learning based solely on a high-stakes tests like the Smarter Balanced Assessment;
  • And protecting family and student opt-out rights.


Oregon families have the right to opt students out of taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in math and English language arts. Families can also request an exemption from the Oregon science assessment at the district level based on disability or religion.

Families can access the current information about opt-out from the Oregon Department of Education. Additionally, OEA has developed materials to help local communities organize around assessment. 

Download our Assessment Organizing Toolkit:

Assessment Organizing Toolkit: English Version

Assessment Organizing Toolkit: Spanish Version

Educator Opt-Out Rights

Educators have a free speech right to share their opinions about assessment and opt-out as individuals during non-work hours.
Educators can direct students and families to online resources or provide factual information about the law during work hours if asked to do so.
School districts can determine educator speech during work hours is disruptive to district policy or educational processes.
Jan Chappuis
Assessment for learning is a gift we give our students. It is a mirror we hold up to show them how far they have come. It is a promise that we will use assessment, not to punish or reward, but to guide them on their learning journey.
Quote by: Jan Chappuis, Author of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning
3 activists hold a banner protesting immigration policy

Take Action for Public Education

We are on a mission to dismantle unjust systems and build the world our students deserve. Together, as educators and allies, we can take actions to help all students—of all colors and backgrounds—learn, grow, and fulfill their potential.

Keeping the Promise of Quality Public Education

The Oregon Education Association (OEA) is a union committed to the cause of providing the basic right of great public education to every student. OEA represents about 41,000 educators working in pre-kindergarten through grade 12 public schools and community colleges. OEA’s membership includes licensed teachers and specialists, classified/education support professionals (ESPs), community college faculty, retired educators, and student members. OEA members also belong to the 3.2 million members of the National Education Association (NEA).