With the 2015-16 school year well under way, we wanted to take a moment to provide some important information about this year’s state tests.
Last spring, Fern Ridge School District students took new 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 which asks students to explain their reasoning and write out their answers. These new 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.
Fern Ridge School District will again give Smarter Balanced tests this spring. 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. Additionally, the tests help Fern Ridge School District’s 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.
Should you wish to opt your child out, please complete the opt-out form and submit it to your child’s school. The opt-out form is posted online at the district website under the “Parents” tab, forms. Copies of the form are also available upon request at each school. You can read more about your right to opt-out here: http://tinyurl.com/OR-HB2655.
At the High School level, all students MUST pass these essential skills in order to earn a High School Diploma. Any 11th grader that opts out of the Smarter Balanced Test will be required to meet these requirements in an alternative means. Students that have not met these requirements in some form prior to the start of the 12th grade year will be automatically placed in remedial courses designed to assist students in meeting this graduation requirement. For younger students that opt out it will mean parents do not receive important information regarding how the current skills of their student in reading, writing and mathematics, relate to the new graduation requirements.
We encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher(s) with any questions you may have about your student’s progress.