Refusal Based on Illegal Assessment

The following letter is good for the 2015-2016 school year.  Parents of children in grades 3-5 and 7 should use it to protest specific assessments that are not in compliance with the Education Code.  In theory, the letter could apply to every assessment since the TEA has refused independent validation.  However, the TEA takes the position that its current validation process may be independent.  We think this is not true, but it is an open question.  However, there is no question that the grade level assessments cited herein are not in compliance with statute.

Please carefully edit the form to note the appropriate assessments for your child.

Update for 2016-2017  – It is unclear whether this year’s assessments will complly with the law.  The TEA believes they will, but it is not clear.  As stated above, this letter was used for a specific year.  I am not recommending it’s current use.  If it turns out the assessments are non-compliant, challenge their use at that point.

Refusal Based on Assessment Illegality


        1. admin

          It also says it applies to every assessment due to nonvalidation. And then, I don’t know, every other article on this entire site is about opting any kid out of STAAR. Read the step by step guide.

          1. admin

            I don’t know. It depends on if the person posting a question has taken the time to read the information provided or if they just want to be spoon fed. But then again, if you come here looking for a pat on the head, hand holding or someone to wallow in feeling sorry for yourself, you probably won’t like what you find.

      1. Concerned Parent

        I just posted on Opt Out’s FB page. We are putting together a group of parents who want to opt out of STAAR test. We believe that if we are united as one voice, the district “might” hear us. Is there someone in your organization who can contact me to discuss? See my post on Opt Out FB page.

  1. Lori Hines

    Can’t wait to stick it to them again. Will also be taking a copy to my state rep this week and to the chairman of senate ed committee later on…

    1. leslie wilhelmus

      I spoke to governor’s office and they want a copy of the TEA’s refusal to follow the law in writing. Mail, fax, or sending to website. I plan on doing this. I hope it makes him angry that they are refusing to follow the bill that passed 17-2 and signed into law by him in June 2015. Stating 11 months is too short to simply remove half the questions is laughable in my opinion. How hard is it to say ok the test is 4 hrs, if we cut 50% of questions it is then 2 hrs? First, the office said contact the district to get to the TEA but when I said it was the TEA that was not going to follow, she became interested. I started asking could that affect my son if I don’t want him taking it, but didn’t get really far because she pretty much cut me off saying send them anything in writing. I think we all MUST send it to the governor. If people from every city, district and school do this, he will be forced to listen. Thanks

  2. Cristina

    So can I legally get my 8th grader opted out from his years STAAR? I’m on my way of doing so and already I’m getting on a bumpy start. Should I just send this refusal letter? I wish I had seen this one before I sent my email. I had no idea the test was actually not legal or within the standards of the law. It’s a shame what the public does not know.

      1. Heather Lander

        Is it possible to add to this letter, that we also expect our children to be allowed in the classroom on makeup days because of this, instead of having to use both this letter and the request for return to classroom letter?

  3. Glen Boehm

    Can someone guide me to the actual law that was signed in June 2015 that allows us to Opt Out? We have a movement of parents in our district that want to do this. In fact, at least one parent received a letter stating that “parents have no rights in this matter.” Also, we would love to discuss this in detail with anyone in the Opt Out Group who has managed to have their child Opt Out with no discipline.

    1. admin

      I would like to see this letter. There was no change in the law in 2015. Parents have been opting out for the last three years. Please send a copy of the letter to Feel free to redact any identifying information of the parent and student if you wish.

  4. Lori hines

    I just got a letter from Leander Isd telling me that the STAAR is in fact a test and not an assessment. And then I laughed and laughed . I will send it to you when I am on another computer.

    And they think my kid is going to summer school to make up I excused absences for missing an assessment that is illegal.

    Funny, they are.

  5. Concerned Mom

    I am confused about the 4th/7th grade writing comment that it was not shortened. They did. It is now only 1 passage not 2 and only 18 questions. 7th grade went from 3 passages to 2.

  6. Ross

    My son it in 6 grade and the will be taking the test on may 9 and 10 and I asked his teachers what will happen it if does not bas the star test and she told me

    For those who do not pass, they will be required to complete work over the summer (will have approximately 3 weeks to complete), and then they will sit for a final exam. If they complete the work, submit on time, and take the final and pass, they will be promoted. For those who do not, we will schedule a grade placement committee meeting, where we will look at all document/history of the student and determine promotion or retention.

    1. admin

      That plan does not follow the law, and is the perfect reason to opt out. Why would you subject your kid to three attempts?

  7. Ross

    Do they have the right to retain him or they do need the parent’s permission cuz whenever I talk to them they tell me this is this school law
    And I asked his teacher if there is any students return from last year in 6th grade she said yes there is 12 and I was shocked by the number

    1. admin

      I truly doubt that number is accurate. You can verify the retention rate at your school by comparing the failure rate on the English STAAR to the retention rate for the grade according to the campus’s Academic Performance Report on the TEA website.

  8. Kristy Reagh

    Will someone please share a text (.txt) version of this letter? I am unable to open Word documents (.docx). Thank you.

  9. Karla

    My son in 5th grade have all passing grades thru out the school year he is marked as gifted/ talented student he passed the math Starr test but not the reading test he also went thru the second reading test and those results don’t come back until three week wich is almost the whole summer school time well in his report card it shows as retained and that he has to attend summer school I’m in need of any advice on what to do so he can go to the next grade level I think it’s not fair having good grades all school year and to be retained just for one test so they are basing their promotion standards in this test and not on the good grades they work so hard to get
    Any advice on what to do so he can be sent to the next grade level?

    1. admin

      These forms were written for an issue clearly present last year. It is unclear whether the issue has been resolved for this year. The assessments will be shorter, but they will have field questions. Data will be collected again to determine compliance. If you choose to use the forms I would edit them to say that it is unclear that the assessments have been properly designed. I recommend the standard forms for this year.

  10. Akire

    My kids just had a “practice” STAAR test… And 3 weeks later they will have the “real” one. I can Opt Out, but can I also tell them to use those scores, to put them in as if they took the real STAAR test?

    1. admin

      STAAR scores are only generated on the state assessment. You can opt out, of course, but the scores will show as either Absent or the minimum scale score. If your child is in an SSI year, you can certainly use the practice STAAR results to argue that they should be promoted.

  11. DRenee

    My kids are in 8th and 5th grade, which means extra testing for them. We want to opt them out. They are in special education school and is it legal for me to opt them out? Will they have my kids to take the test later on when kids need to “retake” the tests in May? If my kids don’t take the test, does the school have the right to prevent my kids from going to the next grade?

    1. admin


      Honestly each one of your questions are covered in various articles on this site.

      In summary here are the answers:

      Is it legal? It’s not illegal. Nobody is going to jail for opting out. You aren’t going to get fined or sued. We say it’s legal. Thousands of parents have successfully opted out with no consequences. Schools say you can’t do it. Yet somehow we do every single year. Is it legal? You’d have to tell me what you mean by legal.

      2. Will your kids have to take it later? Only if you don’t opt out of the May administration. You do have a clear legal right to waive the summer retest.

      3. If you don’t take the assessment, does the school have the right to retain your kids? Not because you opted out. If they don’t pass STAAR whether because of opt out or actual performance, there is a chance they may be retained. Statistically it is an extremely small chance, and we’ve never heard of it happening to an opt out kid whose parent follows the process. If your kids are passing their classes, the chance of retention for failing or not taking STAAR is extremely low. Is it theoretically possible, yes. If you need a guarantee that your kids will be promoted if you opt out, I can’t give you that. I also can’t give you that if they take it and fail. I will say, if they take it and fail, you’ve created evidence that they should be retained. So factor that in as well.

  12. DRenee

    HB 743 also requires the TEA to independently verify the validity and reliability of the STAAR grades 3-8 assessments before the spring 2016 administration. The Student Assessment Division has contracted with the Human Resources Research Organization (HumRRO) for the independent evaluation of the STAAR assessments.

    Is there any update on this? Has STAAR been independently verified yet?

    What about this one?
    In order to comply with the mandates of House Bill 743, the STAAR assessments will be shortened so that 85 percent of students will be able to complete the assessment instrument within two hours in grades 3–5 and within three hours in grades 6–8. The STAAR assessments will include both operational and field-test items.

    Saying 85% will be able to complete the assessment, what about the other 15%? The 15% will be stressed out even worse and probably won’t pass, are they setting them up for failure?

  13. Rachel

    Can my friend opt out her Autistic, non verbal 15 year old? He’s never had practice sheets, study guide for Teacher, he’s just expected to be asked to answer the essay question Best he can. Not once has he been prepared for ANY of the STARR tests. He’s low functioning, with a dedicated aide,. He’s never even went to Science or SS class…Ever. How can this be legal or fair?

  14. Teresa

    The opt-0ut form is valid for 2018 correct?
    Also my daughter has ADHD and Dyslexia so they always give her that extra given time but she has not passed the STAAR test since she started it.Last year she didn’t pass but she was literally a dot away from passing.This year has been very difficult for her learning wise even with some steps they have made.I have spoken to the vice principal about (what if she doesn’t pass?) he said then she has 2 more tries and if she doesn’t pass those then they will look at her learning levels through the years…Which every year but last she has been placed since kinder to 4th and promoted to 5th but again has struggled and no matter how much I change the dosage of medication or brand of medication NOTHING HAS BEEN WORKING.I honestly think it’s the school (this is her 2nd yr) her previous school was always on top of her work and our 504 meetings and the teachers would call me to for a 594 board meeting on how to help but at this current school they don’t say anything until I get a report card and I’m like”what in the world?!!” Why are her grades so bad? Why didn’t someone contact me sooner.She has a hard time with comprehension since kinder and she can’t stay on task even though she’s a very calm student.I don’t know what they will tell me if I give them the opt out letter and if they go back to her year they obviously know she has been struggling but I strongly believe ,as having the same ADHD and Dyslexia that if they choose to retain her it will effect her more mentally by the stress and it won’t do her any good to hold her back.Same thing happened to me in 1st and they retained me and though going through first would help me understand things better (back then it was an option) so my parents agreed.Till my 1st day of my senior year I struggled and dropped out and I don’t want my daughter to go through what I went through.Her testing is April 10th and 11th.Do I have time or to late?

    1. admin

      There is no promotion or retention based on STAAR this year. All SSI was waived. High school students still must meet EOC requirements.

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