Opting Out of Standardized Tests at the Secondary Level—A Geographic Analysis of Colorado

Lydia Ross, Kathryn P. Chapman, Sherman Dorn, Carlos R. Casanova

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although much of the national opt-out movement is parent driven, the Colorado opt-out movement involved considerable efforts from high school students. This study explores the geography of the Colorado opt-out movement among secondary students, drawing upon social movements theory. We utilize the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) as a measure of opt-out behavior in Colorado between 2016–2019. We also examine school-level demographic data. We first applied ordinary least squares regression and then utilize multiscale geographically weighted regression (MGWR) to examine the relationships between school-level demographics and opting out behavior for 11th-grade standardized assessments in Colorado. This analysis demonstrates the importance of geography in enacting social networks surrounding the opt-out movement in the state of Colorado. This study offers insight into opting out in the unique context of youth activism in Colorado, with a specific focus on geographical analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAERA Open
StatePublished - Jan 1 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • activism
  • geography
  • MGWR
  • policy
  • regression analyses
  • secondary schools
  • student behavior/attitude
  • testing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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