Testing opt-outs Affect ACA

Rachel Shulikov

Charter News – 4/6/2019

ACA’s opting out rate for the Smarter Balanced testing is about 15 percent, and for every student who opts out this year, ACA gets a zero score for that student.

State testing is for students in grades 3rd through 8th and 11th. There are two language arts parts and two math parts. The tests show the strengths that the students have, and areas where they can improve. The tests show administrators how teaching methods and curriculum can be changed. Every school is tracked for participation rate. It’s in our charter school’s requirement that our participation rate and scores meet or exceed the Oregon City School District’s participation rate and scores.

“Starting this year if a student opts out of state testing, not only does it count against our schools participation rate, it also counts as a student scoring a zero on the state test which can affect a school performance rating on the annual state report card,” said Barbara Kindler-Gaines, ACA Test Coordinator.

Gaines wasn’t sure about opt out rate percentages in other schools but she did say that ACA “trends at about at 15% opt out rate” and that ACA has a “higher non-participation rate than other schools in the district.”

“The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) requires that states assess 95% of all students,” commented Gaines, she went on saying, “ACA strives to meet the federally mandated 95% state assessment participation requirement for all students,” she said.

On average it takes a student about an 1½ hours to finish a test, but it also varies on the student, and the tests aren’t times, said Gaines. A student can take as long they they need to to take the test.

Available staff help out with the testing. They first are trained by Gaines to be test administrators. “This training is critical to a successful testing event and covers everything from test security to administering the test to a room full of students,” said Gaines.

The state does not provide the same opt out option for science testing. “For the science assessment, there are exemptions under OAR based on a student’s religion or disability. Under this OAR, parent or caretakers can list the reasons for the request and a proposed alternative for an individualized learning activity,” said Gaines.

“I think it is important to note that ACA does not use student test scores to make individual decisions about students. Instead as a staff ACA looks at the data from state test to identify areas where we may need to make adjustments in instruction in both English language arts and math,” commented Gaines.

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Sources:

Gaines, Barbara. Email Interview. April 30, 2019.

Opt out form. Accessed April 29, 2019