Yup, it’s that time of year again.
Fall brings football, crisp cool evenings, tailgating, and the beginning of the school year.
Winter introduces snow days, three day weekends, and for some students the dreaded research paper.
Ah, but then there’s spring…sunny days, antsy students, and yes, state testing.
Just thinking about the high stakes Smarter Balance test makes students quake, parents reach for the opt-out form, and teachers to review, review, and review some more with their students in the hope of squeezing in the last bits of information that will make a difference to their students’ success.
For many of us, it’s the questions surrounding the test that are the greatest challenge. How many times have you had to answer “But why do I have to take the test?”; “What happens if I opt out?”; “What do I get out of the test?”; and others too numerous to mention that can stump any teacher or cause him/her to fumble for an easily understood answer.
The Office of Public Instruction (OSPI) rides to the rescue with their informational press release provided below. Answers to the most common questions asked as well as resources for more in-depth information are also provided. Dare I say gird your loins and arm yourself with the latest information about state testing by reading OSPI’s latest news. It’s a great place to start!
State Testing, a Key Measure of Student Progress, Now Underway
Resources on standards, testing and preparing for college available
OLYMPIA—March 24, 2016—Knowing which students are ready for career, college and life, and how well our schools are preparing all students, is an important part of our state’s accountability system. State testing, which is now underway, provides a key measure to help education leaders, teachers and parents improve student learning.
In spring 2015, students in the state’s 295 school districts took the computer-based Smarter Balanced Assessments in math and English language arts (ELA) for the first time, outperforming initial projections against tougher college and career ready learning standards.
In grades 3-8, Washington students performed at or near the top in most grade levels and subjects compared to other Smarter Balanced states.
More than 50 percent of 11th graders refused to take Smarter Balanced tests in spring 2015. But 74 percent of 10th graders who took the Smarter Balanced ELA test passed at a college- and career-ready level – and 82 percent met the graduation requirement threshold. In eight states, including Washington, the high school Smarter Balanced tests serve as college placement exams and can help students avoid remedial courses in college if they score a Level 3 or 4.
“State testing helps districts determine if they are meeting the needs of all their students equitably and fairly, or if they should make adjustments,” State Superintendent Randy Dorn said. “It helps families know how their child is doing in school and whether he or she needs more help or more academic challenges.
“Testing also gives us another piece of information – just like discipline and attendance rates – to determine the health of our public school system.”
Ready Washington released three new videos today that provide the basics on 2016 state testing, WA’s learning standards and the State Board of Education’s 95/10 Challenge. The videos are available at www.youtube.com/ReadyWA.
- State Learning Standards & Testing(translations in 16 languages)
- Planning to Go to College?(translated in 9 languages)
- FAQs on State Testing
- What Students Are Saying About Smarter Balanced
- Top 3 Reasons to Take the Smarter Balanced Assessment
- Opt in for Student Success
- Smarter Balanced in Washington
- Graduation Requirements in Washington
OSPI Communications Manager
OSPI Communications Specialist