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6 Things D-11 Parents Need to Know About Testing - KOAA.com | Continuous News | Colorado Springs and Pueblo

6 Things D-11 Parents Need to Know About Testing

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Sharpen your pencils! It’s time for annual assessment tests, when students demonstrate what they’ve been learning this school year.

There are several significant changes in schedules, formats and procedures for all grades.

Here are 6 important things District 11 parents should know:

1. High school students see the biggest changes

Previously, students in grades 9 to 12 all took some form of assessment test each year. Starting this school year, the sequence of tests changes dramatically. Here’s the breakdown of testing for each grade:

  • 9th graders take the PARCC English language arts & math tests
  • 10th graders take the PSAT 10, a preparatory test for the college readiness assessment. Next year they will take the SAT as 11th graders.
  • 11th graders this year will be the last class to take the ACT college readiness exam; they will also take a science assessment.
  • 12th graders will not take any exams.

2. Testing times are shorter for all grades

Colorado is one of more than 10 states that administer the PARCC English, language arts and math tests. This year, overall PARCC testing has been significantly reduced.

Total testing time for each grade, from grade 3 through high school, has been shortened by about 90 minutes. And instead of the two testing windows as in previous years, there is just one window towards the end of the school year.

3. Opt-outs are discouraged, but accepted

In a bill passed last year by the Colorado legislature, the state now asks all school districts to have a policy on the books for handling parents who refuse to let their children take certain tests.

While opt-outs are accepted at D-11 schools, Eric Mason, director of assessment at District 11, emphasizes the importance of assessment testing.

“These tests are meant to ensure transparency, to make sure students are getting the same education regardless of their backgrounds,” explains Mason. “Opting out of testing, in the long run, will hurt our understanding of how we’re serving our students.”

4. D-11 invites parents to get involved with testing decisions

Assessments measure how well students are prepared for post-high school college and careers. So if students don’t perform well on a test, it’s a sign that schools need to reassess their curricula.

“Parents should get involved at the local level,” says Mason. “Work with your teachers and principal to make sure those curricula are better aligned to these new standards.”

D-11, for example, just issued a new reading curriculum focused on critical thinking and problem solving in accordance with new Colorado state standards.

5. Go online to learn more about testing in D-11 schools

Parents can also now stay better informed about the assessment tests their student is taking. Districts are now required to publish detailed information, such as the length of tests and who requires it.

D-11 parents can find complete information on the assessment calendar available online.

6. Testing begins soon! Mark your calendars

The big assessment window for D-11 starts right after spring break in March and finishes around the end of April.

Be sure to check out D11’s online calendar to find out which days your student is testing. Parents can help students feel prepared with a good night’s sleep and a filling breakfast on the big day!

D-11 is committed to providing every student with an excellent educational experience that prepares them for success today and in the future. Assessment testing is the best way to ensure students meet Colorado’s academic content standards and that our schools are properly preparing students for college and careers.

For more information about the Colorado State Assessment System visit our Parent Information Assessment page, the Colorado Department of Education website or call  (719) 520-2000.

This article was produced for and sponsored by Colorado Springs School District 11. It is not a product of or affiliated with KOAA News 5.

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