Irvington Principal Announcement
I have heard many parent concerns about the upcoming Smarter Balanced Assessment. I'm holding some parent workshops to share information I have recently received from the district on the following dates:
Friday, 1/23, 8:45-9:45 a.m., Cafeteria (Principal's Coffee)
Tuesday, 1/27, 8:45-10:15 a.m., Computer Lab
Wednesday, 1/28, 6:30-8 p.m., Computer Lab
Monday, 2/9, 6:30-8 p.m., Computer Lab
If you are unable to attend one of these sessions and would like information, please contact Deborah O'Kelly to schedule an appointment to meet with me.
Also, Mary Anderson, who is overseeing school preparations for the Smarter Balanced Assessment, will be attending our PTA meeting on February 2 in order to address parent questions and concerns.
Here is additional information the district has provided:
Standardized testing: Clarifying importance and procedures
This FAQ is intended as a support to principals and teachers to understand State of Oregon requirements and our practices around testing.
Q: Why is it important for students to take their OAKS tests?
A: There are several key reasons why students are required to take the OAKS tests:
• The tests measure how well students have learned what they need to know in each
subject, giving students, parents, teachers and schools valuable information about
students’ mastery of material.
• The tests are an important measure of how well a school is serving students and what
improvements may be needed.
• The tests are used by the state to rate schools – both on how well students do overall
and also on how many students take the tests. If a school falls below 95%
participation, the school’s state rating falls. The ratings are made public in the school’s
State Report Card and are often used by parents weighing school choices.
Q: In what ways is testing a racial equity issue with different stakes for students of
color, students with disabilities and students in poverty?
Q: How does a student gain an exemption from taking the tests?
A: Parents are allowed to request test exemption based on disability or for religious reasons. For a school to excuse a student under this rule, the parent must provide a written request listing the reasons for the request and propose an alternative learning activity for the student to do during the testing that would meet the same goals as participation in the state assessment. An example of an activity might be that the student work on homework or a special assignment covering the same set of skills being tested.
The school may then consider the parent’s suggested activity but choose instead to engage the student in a different activity that the school determines. The point of having the parent suggest an alternate activity is to help emphasize the educational value and importance of the assessment.
In past practice, the principal approves the request, and the school test coordinator makes sure either to block the student from testing in OAKS or talks with the teachers to ensure that testing of the student does not happen. The school retains a copy of the parent letter and sends a copy to PPS Research & Evaluation. The parent request letter should be submitted as early in the school year as possible, and it must be renewed every year, if the parent wishes to continue to exempt the student.
2014-15 Parent Exemption Process:
- Initiated by parent
- Opt out may only be based on either disability or religion
- School designated administrator must meet with parent/guardian
- Only completed forms may be accepted and approved by school designated administrator
- School designated administrator must scan & email a copy of completed form to R&E
- R&E will log exemption and block tests
- Process must be completed before testing begins to avoid testing exempt students
- Process must be renewed each academic year
Q: What if a parent writes a letter refusing for a student to be tested, but not stating a
religious or disability-based exemption? Is this allowable?
A: The state statute does not recognize a parent’s testing refusal as a legitimate exemption
from testing. The only recognized exemptions are for religious reasons or due to a student’s disability as described above. However, if a parent does wish to refuse testing on behalf of their child, they must also follow the steps outlined in the prior question. We then ask that the principal discuss with the parent the reasons why we require students to
take tests (refer to the first and second questions/answers on this sheet). We want parents to make informed decisions and be aware of the consequences of students not taking tests, including the influence that their decision can have on the student’s classmates.
If a parent continues to refuse testing, schools should either use the alternate activity
suggested by the parent or choose one that suits the student and school.
Q: Can students refuse to test on their own without a parent’s approval?
A: If a parent or guardian is listed on the student’s registration form, that parent must be the
one to request a formal exemption.
Q: What if students are encouraging other students to boycott testing?
A: Principals, teachers and schools must clearly assert that students must not coerce or in
any way intimidate other students to share their position or their actions on testing. Schools
should follow their anti-bullying protocols to intervene with students who engage in such
Q: Does a legitimate exemption or a refusal count against my school’s test
A: Any student enrolled on the first instructional day in May and for at least one-half of the
school year who does not test, regardless of the reason, counts against the school’s