Report

Who Opts Out of State Tests?
Matt Chingos
Brookings Institution

The 648 districts with complete data available had an average opt-out rate of 28 percent (the rates are averaged across the math and ELA tests). But weighting each district by its enrollment shows that an estimated 21 percent of all students at these districts opted out. The difference between these numbers implies that larger districts tend to have lower opt-out rates.

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This analysis confirms that districts serving more disadvantaged students have lower opt-out rates, even after test scores are taken into account. A one standard deviation increase in the share of students eligible for free/reduced lunch is associated with an 11-percentage-point decrease in the opt-out rate. These relationships are even stronger when districts are weighted proportional to their enrollment, as shown in the right pair of bars in the figure below. This may be because these relationships are stronger in larger districts, or because opt-out is measured with less error in larger districts.