State and District Assessments

  • Guiding Principles

    As part of Creating Inclusive Cultures and Improving Instructional Practices, we believe that all students should have access to state assessments. (This is also required by state and federal law).
    When assessment is done well, it allows us to know each individual student as a learner. And it allows each individual student to know him/herself as a learner.
    "Assessment is a central process in education. If students learned what they were taught, we would never need to assess; we could instead just keep records of what we had taught. But as every teacher knows, many students do not learn what they are taught...Assessment is the bridge between teaching and learning -- It is only through assessment that we can find out whether what has happened in the classroom has produced the learning we intended."
    -Dylan William

    Procedural Guidance

    Accessibility Supports for state assessments fall into three categories:
    • Universal Tools
    • Designated Supports
    • Accommodations
    In addition, all three categories of supports are divided into Embedded and Non-Embedded Supports.
    • Embedded supports are delivered digitally through the online testing system (e.g. an on-screen highlighter for reading passages).
    • Non-embedded supports are provided externally (e.g. scratch paper).

    ODE defines Accessibility Supports in this way:
    • Universal Tools - available to all students based on student preference and selection
    • Designated Supports - available for use by any student for whom the need has been indicated by an educator (these supports are not explicitly listed in the State Assessments section of the IEP)
    • Accommodations - changes in procedures or materials that increase equitable access during the statewide assessments. Accommodations are only available for students with an IEP or 504. Embedded and Non-Embedded Accommodations must be listed in the State Assessments section of the IEP. (see the links below for a list of the specific accommodations available on OAKS/Smarter Balanced and other state assessments)
    Extended Assessment
    As part of the guarantee of FAPE, all students are entitled to and expected to participate in state assessments. For a very small number of students with significant cognitive disabilities, the standard OAKS/Smarter Balanced assessments may not be accessible. In that case, students participate in the Extended Assessment.
    Beginning with the 2015-16 school year, ODE has provided clearer and more narrow criteria for which students are eligible to take the Extended Assessment. 
    Highlights of the new Extended Assessment criteria:
    • Extended Assessment is for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
    • Students take either the Extended  Assessment or OAKS/Smarter Balanced. They can no longer take the Extended Assessment for one subject area (math/ELA) and OAKS/Smarter Balanced for another subject area.
    • Before the Extended Assessment is selected on a student's IEP, the IEP team must complete the Extended Assessment Checklist to determine if they qualify. The team must answer "Yes" to all 5 questions for the student to be eligible to take the Extended Assessment.
     Extended Assessment Checklist (the Checklist is on page 2 of this pdf)
    As a result of these new criteria, some students who took the Extended Assessment in prior years will participate in the OAKS/Smarter Balanced assessment this year. The Oregon Accessibility Manual (the list of Accessibility Supports linked above) provides a range of accommodations that will allow these students to access the assessments.


     Accessibility Supports for Smarter Balanced Assessment
    Note: This graphic is from a previous Oregon Accessibility Manual. Some of the accessibility supports may have changed (See links below for updated Accessibility Supports)
    These links provide more detail about Accessibility Supports for Oregon State Assessments:
    • ODE Test Administration Website - Oregon Department of Education - includes links to Test Administration Manual and Oregon Accessibility Manual
    • Oregon Accessibility Manual - 2017-18 - Specific Details of the Universal Tools, Designated Supports and Accommodations that are allowed on the OAKS - Smarter Balanced assessments for the  2017-18 school year


    District Assessments
    Accessibility Supports for Measures of Academic Progres (MAP) assessments are different than for the OSAS/Smarter Balanced state assessments. MAP is the district interim assessment for reading and mathematics. Here is a guidance document for accessibility suppots for MAP assessments.


    State/District Assessment FAQ's

    Can the IEP team decide that a student will not take state assessments?
    No. All students enrolled in a tested grade level must have access to participation in state assessments. The only reason to check "No" on the state assessments page is if the student is not in a tested grade level (and will not be in a tested grade level during the state assessment window during the year that the IEP is in effect).
    Parents may choose to opt their student out of state assessments. That is not a special education decision. Parents who are considering opting their child out of state assessments should contact their principal to find out more about the district's opt out procedures. 
    Can the IEP team decide that a student will not take ELPA?
    No. In the past, an IEP team could waive the requirement for a student to take ELPA. That is no longer the case. The IEP team can choose to waive up to 3 of the 4 domains of ELPA (writing, reading, speaking, listening). But the student must take at least one domain of ELPA. Contact your SPED IC and school EL coordinator if your IEP team is considering waiving ELPA  domains. 
    What are the tested grade levels for State Assessments?
    All students take OAKS/Smarter Balanced in  English Language Arts and Math in grades 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 11. Students also take the OAKS Science test in grades 5, 8 and 11.