Opting out of state mandated testing may have significant implications for schools and states. In Minnesota, each student opted out of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment (MCA) receives a score of not proficient in school accountability data. The practice of categorizing opt outs as not proficient at the school level could skew accountability data and result in the Minnesota Department of Education incorrectly identifying schools needing support and negatively impact funding. The purpose of this quantitative study was to determine if specific school variables (i.e., grade level, academic subject, school type, school enrollment size, proportion of special education students, and socioeconomics) are significantly related to MCA opt out data. Data analyzed were from all Minnesota Traditional Public Schools and Public Charter Schools that reported MCA results in 2018. Publicly available secondary data from the Minnesota Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture were analyzed using JASP, a statistics analysis program. The results revealed some school variables are significantly associated with MCA opt outs and the odds of schools being non-compliant with the 95% federal testing requirement. Higher opt out rates were found in High Schools, Public Charter Schools, and schools with a higher percentage of students receiving Special Education Services. Lower opt out rates were found in schools with a higher percentage of students eligible for Free and Reduced-Priced meals. This study was the first to analyze school variables associated with opt out data in Minnesota yet additional research is needed to: analyze variables not included in this study, explore the reasons cited for opting out, and evaluate the practice of labeling opt outs as not proficient. Variables with significant relationships to MCA opt out data must be identified before the opt out dilemma can be fully addressed.
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Rosell, P. M. (2021). Opting Out in Minnesota: Examining the Variables Associated with Opting Out of the Minnesota Comprehensive Assessment [Doctoral dissertation, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/703