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Every year, students in grades 3 through 8 and grade 11 take state tests in reading, writing, and math. Students in grades 5, 8 and 11 also take a science test. The tests measure students’ knowledge of content standards, and give the State feedback on how schools are performing.
In spring of 2015, students took a new test for English language arts and math called the Smarter Balanced test. (Science is still tested by the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills).
When students take a new test, it's normal for success rates to change. It can take a while for students to adapt to the new style of the test, and success rates normally improve over time. After students have had some time to adjust to the Smarter Balanced Assessment, parents might choose to look at state test results as one way to gauge their student's progress in mastering state standards.
Parents can help students prepare for the Smarter Balanced test by taking practice tests. Practice tests are available on the Oregon Department of Education's OAKS portal and on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium's website. There's no need to register – simply log in as a guest.
Extra practice and encouragement at home will help a lot. Salem-Keizer Public Schools has prepared a series of flyers called Parents' Tips for Testing to help parents help students get ready for the Smarter Balanced test. The flyers are available for download below.
Parents have the right to exclude their students from some state tests. See this form from the Oregon Department of Education for more information.
More information about Smarter Balanced test can be found on the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium website.