Five Reasons State Assessments are Important

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1.  Testing is a part of learning, and lets students “show what they know” and what they can do.

    • Tests results show student strengths. You will learn what subject areas your student excels in.
    • Tests results show student weaknesses. You will learn what your student needs to learn.
    • Testing each year helps a student become a strong test-taker. The more tests students take, the more familiar and comfortable they will feel, and test performance will improve. Performing well under pressure is a skill students will need and will use often as an adult.
    • All students take tests. We can’t avoid them. People of all ages must sometimes take tests. Annual assessment is a requirement of ALE law, and state tests fulfill this requirement in grades 3-11.

2.  All tests, including state assessments, provide information about student learning that help us (teachers and parents) instruct students better and help them succeed.

    • The purpose of a test is for the student to show what he/she has learned. Tests help both you and your student’s CVA teachers. A lack of information about a student’s level of knowledge (revealed through testing) hinders academic progress. The information from state assessment results in grades 3-11 will help the CVA teacher (and parent) focus instruction on subject areas in which the student needs more time to understand and master the content.
    • Test results are important indicators of academic progress. Tests help educators with determining student grade level placement, designing specialized instruction, setting learning goals and monitoring progress. Test results in grades 3-8 help teachers (and parents) address student learning needs early in areas in which the student did not meet standard, and focus instruction to build success leading into high school and beyond.
    • Students will not “get in trouble” if they do not meet standards. Do not be concerned about possible consequences of poor performance. Your student only has to do the best he/she can on testing day. While a student should strive to do his/her personal best on any test, know that there are no negative consequences for scores lower than standard. Learning is a process. Help your student set personal goals and work with your student and his/her CVA teacher to achieve those goals.
    • There are many chances to succeed on state assessments before graduation day. Tests help younger students practice and build confidence before taking exams as part of their graduation requirements. Students have multiple opportunities to take any of the sections of the high school state assessment.  

3.  Taking state assessments can provide evidence that ALE students are learning effectively and mastering grade level expectations (GLEs) in an independent, online and/or remote learning environment.

    • Student performance data helps CVA administrators identify instructional strengths and weaknesses and make quality improvements to the program that will benefit students. 
    • State assessment data is the primary “measurement” of student learning recognized and used by state educators and legislative officials to make decisions concerning public education. State assessment data on student performance is an important indicator of the success (or failure) of the ALE option in public education.
    • Only through testing data can we continue to affirm to state legislators that ALE is a viable alternative to the traditional “brick and mortar” option for student learning and cause them to continue supporting and funding ALE. Let’s ensure the longevity of Family Choice laws and ALE in public education. 

4.  If you or your students are reluctant to participate in state exams, seek to understand why and determine if this is an opportunity for personal growth.

    • Help your students work through anxiety about testing. Let your student vent and listen. Learn more about current state assessment processes and separate concerns and inaccurate concepts about testing from other issues at home or school. Discuss with your student the reasons he/she might fear tests or feel pressure to do well. Support and encourage personal goal setting and reward achievement.
    • Help your student relate assessment outcomes to his/her future success and career options. As professionals and parents, we share the duty and responsibility of ensuring our children are educated, skilled and contributing citizens, and realize their potential as lifelong learners. Earning a high school diploma is an important step towards becoming a self-sufficient adult. Meeting standards in core academic areas on state assessments is one of the requirements for receiving a Washington State diploma. Secondary education programs and the U.S. Military require a state-certified diploma or GED, as do most entry-level jobs.  

5.  Refusing to take state assessments does not release a student from the consequences of that action.

    • Know your choices and choose a realistic option for reaching student goals. Get accurate information about the rules concerning alternative options to state assessments and the requirements for graduation. Establishing subject mastery by using the Collection of Evidence option is laborious. To earn a state diploma, a student must attempt the high school assessment at least once and meet eligibility criteria to use that alternative option in any content area. Secondary education programs and military entrance requirements and options vary, but all readily accept a high school diploma.
    • Refusing to test (not participating) is classified by the state as the student “not meeting standard” in knowledge and mastery of the subject area. When a student is expected to take state assessments and doesn’t, test scores are recorded by the state as “zero” or “not passed” in CVA statistics. Overall ALE statistics are then skewed, as are state perceptions about the viability and adeptness of distance learning. State testing data (student proficiency) is considered when schools are reviewed for successfully meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP).
    • CVA must ask parents who choose not to have their children participate in state testing to complete a State Assessment Refusal Documentation Form (see below) to put in writing their choice and reasons for refusing to have their children participate. As a public school program option, CVA must abide by all state and federal laws governing public education. CVA has the responsibility of offering state-organized assessments to students. The enrolling CVA district will keep statements on file to document parent refusals and lack of test scores.

CVA teachers and staff are here to assist you and your student by providing additional information, explanations, testing guidance, and scheduling for state exams.

    • For an overview of the current state assessment tests and graduation requirements visit www.WAtesting.com.
    • Practice and training tests for the Smarter Balance Assessment System (SBAC) can be found here.
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