Once again students in Portland Public Schools will be asked to take the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS). The Jefferson Student Union would like to remind students of their right to opt out. We have started testing this week and want to encourage all students to opt out.
Why Opt Out?
The Jefferson Student Union is taking a strong stance against high stakes standardized testing. We believe that standardized test scores inaccurately depict a student’s knowledge, have an extremely high correlation to a student’s family’s income, have a high correlation with race, are expensive, and in all are taking up class time that we could use learning things that are more applicable to our lives.
A test score cannot give someone the same insight to a school as a discussion with students, teachers, and parents can. The ideal solution would be to eliminate high stakes standardized testing and replace it with a more comprehensive evaluation system developed by the community. That would free up millions of dollars in the district that could be used to fund more teachers, electives, wrap around services, and other supports we need to learn.
We are not test scores. Our intelligence isn’t exclusive to how well we can pick A,B, C, or D. Let’s send a strong message to our principal, our school board, Governor Kitzhaber, and the rest of the country that this testing agenda stops here.
How to Opt Out
Ask any Jefferson Student Union member for an opt-out form or print one out here. Check off the areas that you would like to opt-out in, obtain a parent signature, and turn it into your vice principal.
Juniors and Seniors should know that students must demonstrate proficiency in the areas of reading, math, and writing in order to graduate. That can be proved in a number of ways that are listed on here. Demonstration is science is not required for graduation. That means you can opt-out and do not have to worry about submitting additional scores or work samples.
Freshman and Sophomores, you will be starting a new standardized test in coming years. Therefore, your OAKS tests have no effect on your ability to graduate. You do not have to pass them or demonstrate proficiency in any alternative ways because they will not impact graduation. Therefore, you can Opt-Out to your heart’s content!
If you have additional questions, feel free to contact us: firstname.lastname@example.org
*Know that the form says your parent/guardian need to schedule a meeting with someone at the school. In our limited experience we’ve found that students showing up with them signed has worked. In the case that you turn yours in the day of the test and are told that your parent/guardian must meet with the school, simply refuse to test that day and find a time to have your parent/guardian speak with the school.
Jefferson Student Union