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The following opinion is presented on-line for informational use only and does not replace the official version. (Mich Dept of Attorney General Web Site - www.ag.state.mi.us)



Opinion No. 6148

April 15, 1983


Use of personality tests for purposes other than academic evaluation and development of students

While a school district may use reasonable evaluation methods for the selection of students to participate in nonacademic activities, it may not administer a personality test authorized by 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, for such purpose.

Personality tests authorized by 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, may be administered in accordance with R 340.1102 only if the parent or guardian, upon notice, does not file timely objection, in writing, to the administration of the test.

Honorable Lewis N. Dodak

State Representative

The Capitol

Lansing, Michigan

You have inquired whether personality tests administered by the public schools, pursuant to the School Code of 1976, 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172; MCLA 380.1172; MSA 15.41172, and Michigan Administrative Code, 1979, Vol. II, pp 2792-2794, R 340.1101-R 340.1107, (1) may be used for purposes other than the academic evaluation and development of the student.

In 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, supra, the Legislature has provided:

'(1) The state board shall promulgate rules concerning personality tests, both projective and nonprojective types, administered to pupils in school districts of the state as school projects or as parts of the school programs.

'(2) The rules shall include:

(a) Circumstances under which the tests may be administered

(b) Responsibility for selection of the tests.

(c) Qualifications of persons administering and interpreting the test results.

(d) Methods of maintaining the confidentiality of test results.' (Emphasis supplied.)

The implementing administrative rules include R 340.1102, supra, which sets forth the limited circumstances in which personality tests may be used in the public school.

'(1) The use of personality tests in a school project or program shall be limited to those circumstances as deemed warranted, from an educational viewpoint, by an individual professionally qualified by education and experience to make such decisions. Such circumstances shall be limited to situations where (a) pupil behavior indicates the need for more information which might lead to an adjustment in his school environment or his educational planning; (b) data from the responses could contribute to self-exploration on the part of the pupil as a part of his educational and vocational planning and decision making; or (c) approved research programs, designed in accordance with commonly accepted patterns, necessitate the use of such tests, either on a group or individual basis. The policy governing decisions to administer personality tests of any kind or type, as a part of a school project or program, shall be determined by the local district board of education in consultation with the local district superintendent and other qualified personnel as described in R 340.1105.

'(2) Personality tests may be administered as a part of a school project or program only after due notice in writing is given to the parent or guardian that such tests are being contemplated for the pupil. No tests shall be given to any child whose parent or guardian objects to the test in writing within 10 days after written notice is mailed to the parent. (Emphasis supplied.)

Your staff has provided this office with a copy of the document that gave rise to the instant opinion request. The document is a student evaluation form, which is filled out by teachers of students who are cheerleading candidates, as part of the selection process for cheerleaders.

It is my opinion that the document in question is not a personality test 'administered to pupils' within the meaning of 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, supra, and the implementing administrative rules and, therefore, this statute does not preclude a school district from using reasonable evaluation methods for the selection of students to participate in nonacademic activities.

It is my further opinion that personality tests authorized by 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, may only be administered in accordance with R 340.1102 after notice to parent or guardian who may timely object in writing to administration of the test.

Frank J. Kelley

Attorney General

(1) Although these rules were promulgated pursuant to 1955 PA 269, Sec. 270a, the predecessor provision to 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1172, supra, which was repealed by 1976 PA 451, Sec. 1851; MCLA 380.1851; MSA 15.41851, the rules continue in force and effect as provided in 1969 PA 306, Sec. 31(2), MCLA 24.231, MSA 3.560(131).


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