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10/4/2012 1:07:00 PM
2012-13 Writing Assessment Available for Eligible Students in Grade 12

During the 2011 legislative session, in response to budgetary restrictions the Oregon Legislature voted to suspend funding for the state writing test at grades 4 and 7 and to restrict eligibility to take the high school writing test to students in grade 11 who had not yet met or exceeded the writing standard.

Writing is one of the most critical skills for our students to master if they are going to be successful in college and the workplace, and ODE staff have been very concerned about the impact the required cuts to writing could have on Oregon students. We know that many of you shared these concerns. In particular, the restriction of the high school writing test to grade 11 students had very real implications for this year’s seniors. The majority of this year’s seniors belong to the 2009-10 grade 9 cohort, which is the first cohort required to demonstrate proficiency in the Essential Skill of Writing in order to receive a high school diploma. And for those who did not meet the standard as juniors, there was no longer the opportunity use the state test as a means of demonstrating their proficiency in writing.

ODE has collaborated with partners in the Legislature to expand eligibility to the high school writing assessment to include students in grade 12 who have not yet met or exceeded the standard. This change also applies to the Extended Writing Assessment. For 2012-13, there is no change to the testing of grade 11 students in writing; they will still have one opportunity to be assessed in either the winter or the spring test window. Eligible students in grade 12 may take the writing test (either online or paper based) once during the winter test window PDF. Students in grade 12 will not be allowed to test in writing during the spring test window. Districts administering the paper-based assessment may order tests for eligible grade 12 students through the Test Information Distribution Engine (TIDE) during the winter writing order window, which runs from October 18 – December 10, 2012.

Please note that students in grades 11 or 12 that have already met or exceeded the achievement standard on the OAKS Writing assessment in previous years will not be allowed to take the test again this school year (2012-2013), as they have already met their Essential Skill of Writing graduation requirement.

All high school writing tests will be scored by at least two raters. While this expansion provides an additional means for students to demonstrate their proficiency in writing, ODE strongly encourages districts to continue administering work samples to students in grade 12 who have not yet met their Essential Skill requirement in this area. Scores from the winter writing test window be available until mid-April, so districts would be wise to have students complete at least one passing work sample before the results are returned.

On a related note, ODE anticipates being able to add back grade 4 and 7 writing in the 2013-15 biennium. More information on this will be provided next spring.

If you have additional questions regarding the OAKS Writing assessment or the Essential Skills graduation requirement, please contact Derek Brown at 503-947-5841.

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