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With the 2016-17 school year well under way, I wanted to take a moment to provide some important information about this year’s state tests.
Last spring, students in the David Douglas School District and around Oregon took state tests in English Language Arts and Math, called Smarter Balanced. The tests move away from previous fill-in-the bubble exams that focused on rote memorization, to a format that asks students to explain their reasoning and write out their answers. These tests measure more complex, real-world skills such as critical-thinking, writing, and problem solving so that your child can successfully transition from grade to grade and be prepared for his or her next steps after high school.
Your school will begin giving Smarter Balanced tests in early March. The tests are not timed, so your child can take as long as he or she needs to fully demonstrate what he or she knows and can do.
We know that an end-of-the-year test cannot possibly tell us everything about your child’s academic progress. However, the results do act as a snapshot of your child’s strengths and areas for improvement and can be used as a way to ensure he or she is getting the supports he or she needs. Additionally, the tests help in our efforts to equitably distribute resources and support student learning. When fewer students take the test, we are left with an incomplete and inaccurate picture of how our students are performing, and this limits our ability to address issues, better serve students, and continue to improve our educational system.
A form provided by the State of Oregon that allows you to opt your child out of testing for the 2016-17 school year is available online (English / Spanish) and in your child’s school office. Should you wish to opt your child out, please visit your child’s school, discuss your decision with the school’s principal, fill out the form and submit it to the school’s office. You can read more about your rights to opt-out.
In David Douglas School District, we are deeply committed to ensuring each and every student in our schools has the supports he or she needs to achieve at high levels and graduate prepared for his or her next steps. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all students are set up to be successful from grade to grade, and that will remain the focus of our District throughout the rest of the school year.
If you have general questions or want more information about the end-of-year tests, please visit our the Smarter Balance Section of our website
I encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with any questions you may have about your student’s progress.
Superintendent, David Douglas School District