Smarter Balanced Assessment Update

In 2010, Oregon adopted higher K-12 standards in English Language Arts and Math to ensure all students move from grade to grade with the academic knowledge and skills necessary for success beyond high school. Because we raised the bar for what we expect students to know and be able to do, we have also changed the way we measure student progress through our state tests, known as Smarter Balanced.

Smarter Balanced is a set of summative assessments in English Language Arts and Math. The assessments are in a format that asks students to explain their reasoning and write out their answers. The assessments are not timed so each student can take as long as he or she needs to fully demonstrate what he or she knows and can do.  The measures include complex, real-world skills such as critical-thinking, writing, and problem solving so that your child can successfully transition from grade to grade and be prepared for his or her next steps after high school.

We know that an end-of-the-year assessment cannot possibly tell us everything about a child’s academic progress. However, the results do act as a snapshot of each child’s strengths and areas for improvement and can be used as a way to ensure he or she is getting the supports he or she needs. Additionally, the assessments help Ashland School District’s efforts to equitably distribute resources and support student learning. When fewer students take the assessment, we are left with an incomplete and inaccurate picture of how our students are performing, and this limits our ability to address issues, better serve students, and continue to improve our educational system.

House Bill 2655 permits parents and adult students to annually opt-out of Oregon’s statewide assessments by submitting an annual form to the school the student attends. If you are considering opting out, please print the form located on the District website: and bring it to your school’s principal.  Discuss opting out with your child’s building principal so you can make an informed decision. 

Completed forms should be initialed by a building administrator and returned to Student Services at 885 Siskiyou Blvd. More information about parent rights can be found on the website and here: Http:// Our school’s assessment windows will be: April 3rd – June 9th 

In Ashland School District, we are deeply committed to ensuring each and every student in our schools has the supports he or she needs to achieve at high levels and graduate prepared for his or her next steps. Our ultimate goal is to make sure that all students are set up to be successful from grade to grade and that will remain the focus of our district throughout the rest of the school year.

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