Student Assessment & Opt-Out Rights

“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.”

Jan Chappuis, author of Classroom Assessment for Student Learning

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.

To find resources and current professional learning opportunities related to quality assessment practices, visit our professional learning pages.


Oregon families have the right to opt students out of taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment in math and English language arts.

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:


  • Educators (teachers and other staff) 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 to be disruptive to district policy or educational processes.

Your Opt Out Rights

Oregon families have the right to opt students out of Oregon’s statewide summative assessments. The two statewide summative assessments are English language arts and math, administered via the Smarter Balanced Assessment. Families can also request an exemption from the Oregon science assessment at the district level based on disability or religion.

Information and opt out forms can be found at the ODE website under Educator Resources > Student Assessment > Test Administration > Forms. Information about exemptions for the science test can be found through the ODE website under Educator Resources > Student Assessment > Science > OSAS Science Assessment FAQ.