As more Oregon schools start new standardized tests, more students are refusing to take them.

Far more students are taking the new exams, than not. And Oregon has long required state tests in third through eighth grade and in high school.  

Concerns over the length, difficulty, and complexity of the new tests have led at least 1,770 Portland-area students to opt-out. The vast majority of students who are not participating are in Oregon’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools. PPS is reporting 1,219 students have opted out, with particularly high opt-out rates in a handful of schools.

One hundred seventy juniors at Lake Oswego High School have opted out of the “Smarter Balanced” tests. That’s about half the junior class. Students can opt out for religious or disability reasons.

If more than five percent opt-out at any particular school, that school could be downgraded.  

But Oregon officials want to avoid having schools judged on the basis of this year’s tests. They expect the federal government to approve that request, but haven’t heard officially.  

Four Portland-area districts haven’t updated opt-out figures since April 3. Most districts that did update their totals found an increase in students opting out.

On April 3, OPB reported 1,302 students in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington counties had opted out of the exams, based on information provided to OPB by the 25 school districts in those counties.