Hundreds of high school seniors refuse to take new state standardized exam

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DENVER — Several hundred Colorado high school students say standardized tests are unnecessary and they made their case by protesting in near-zero temperatures and refusing to take a new state exam Thursday.

The seniors say they’re against taking the new Colorado Measure of Academic Success test because their time could be better spent elsewhere.

“We have better things to be doing like college applications,” student Noah Clay said.

Colorado Department of Education Commissioner Robert Hammond says he understands the students’ frustration and will evaluate the testing process and identify ways to improve it.

“Schools and districts have been working very hard to prepare for and give the new tests. I know it’s been challenging and I hear the concerns raised about the quantity and timing of tests,” Hammond said in a statement.

“I understand the frustration. I am fully committed to evaluating how the testing goes and working with districts and policymakers to identify ways to improve. I know that together we will find the best pathway forward that yields the best results for students.”

The Boulder Valley School District reported 84 percent of students refused to take the CMAS test on its first day Thursday. That included only two of 414 students at Boulder High taking the test. The refusal rate was also high at Fairview (98.3 percent), Centaurus (95.5 percent) and Monarch (89.8 percent) high schools.

In a YouTube video, Fairview students say they had no input on the tests and they don’t match with what they have been taught.

In the Cherry Creek School District, officials said the refusal rate was 37 percent, but it was 97 percent at Cherry Creek High School in Greenwood Village.

At nine Douglas County high schools, nearly 1,900 students did not take the test.