Letter from the Director

Posted by Kay

The testing periods for the Smarter Balanced assessments in English and Math and the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) Science and Social Sciences assessments are fast approaching. Last year, we gleaned important insights into how Trillium students test, and where they stand in relation to other schools in the PPS district. Historically, we have tested very well; we have exceeded district averages across the board. Recently, however, test scores have gone down.

After an extensive review of the results, we have come to the following conclusions:

  • We need to raise our testing scores in Math, from 10% (grades 3-5), 18% (grades 6-8), to meet or exceed the district average of 50% in similar grades.
  • We need to raise our testing scores in Reading, from 26% (grades 3-5), 39% (grades 6-8), to meet or exceed  the district average of 59% in similar grades.

  • In meeting the needs of our specialized populations, economically disadvantaged, English Language Learners, students with disabilities, and historically underserved populations; we need to raise our scores an average of 35%.

Testing and graduation data is one of the few metrics that the school district has to measure our success as a school, locally and statewide; and so is very important. Knowing this, many parents have reached out to see what they can do to support us in raising our scores. One way is to have your student “opt-in” to testing. As years of testing data begin to accumulate, it is possible to analyze trends and identify broad areas of concern, such as a significant achievement gap between one group of students and another. Effort can then be focused on identifying the reasons for this gap, and finding means to address it.

We understand that many parents choose Trillium because we are less focused on testing and scores, and more on a whole-child curriculum. We understand your concerns around test anxiety, and are committed to supporting your student, to feel as safe and confident as possible while testing.

In an effort to ease the climate around testing, we will roll out the following interventions:

  • Administer practice tests

  • Offer tests in smaller increments

  • Develop shorter prompts that mirror official questions

  • Increase math instructional hours

  • Increase computer literacy instructional purposes

  • Share our approaches across grade levels

  • Ensure students receive accommodations tailored to individual needs

  • Ensure our specialized populations have no barriers to their education

Under Oregon Administrative Rule 581-022-1910, parents may request that their student be exempted from taking the OAKS Online Science and/or ELPA21 tests to accommodate a student’s disabilities or religious beliefs. To best support school planning, please download and submit the 2017-18 Parent Request for Exemption by March 12, 2018.

Thank you,
Patrice Mays
Interim Executive Director

 

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