REDMOND, OR -- Oregon schools are required to offer standardized tests each year, but state law allows parents to opt their students out. According to a new report, only 7% of the juniors at Redmond Proficiency Academy took part in Smarter Balanced testing, this year; 405 sat out. The charter school has the highest opt-out rate in the state.
RPA Executive Director Dr. Jon Bullock isn't surprised. He tells KBND News, "Redmond Proficiency Academy is a public charter school. It's a school of choice. We know that we will have a large number of parents opting them out, so we have adopted a comprehensive program to address the essential skills for all of our students in grades 6-12. We track student progress in English, math, reading, and science throughout Middle School and High School using the ACT Aspire suite of assessments." He adds, "Because the assessments are linked to college and career preparedness, we're using an assessment that applies to our students' lives beyond just the test moment."
Dr. Bullock says it's important for students to take assessments, for both the school and student to adjust instruction to make sure they stay on a path to graduation. "By using the ACT Suite of Assessments, we can analyze individual student results and personalize academic experiences for students. So, when a student exceeds those state and national expectations, we use that data to encourage students to pursue advanced courses of study. And so, we have an emerging cohort of students at RPA that have been involved in this assessment program, that have created a whole new group of students that consider themselves university-bound students who might not, otherwise, be that way."
Bend High ranked third in the state for juniors opting out of the Smarter Balanced test, with 19% participating; Mountain View High in Bend ranked fourth, with a quarter of its juniors taking the test. Statewide, 94% of students took the Smarter Balanced test, this year.