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Final State Assessment Plan for 2021

ODE received conditional approval letter for our amended assessment waiver request from the United States Department of Education (USDE) on April 6, 2021. The public comment period for the amended assessment waiver request ended on Friday, April 9, 2021. The public comments received did not result in any changes to the amended assessment waiver request. ODE submitted a summary of the public comment process to USDE and the condition was formally removed by USDE on April 27, 2021. Oregon's test windows for English language arts, mathematics, and science opened on April 13, 2021 and proceed through June 11, 2021. Oregon's test blueprints have all been shortened in order to limit the impact on instructional time. The number of required assessments has also been reduced based on the following schedule:

Grade LevelRequired TestsOptional Tests
3English Language Arts (ELA)Mathematics
5ScienceELA & Mathematics
7ELA & MathematicsNone
8Mathematics & ScienceELA
ELA & MathematicsScience

Please send any questions that you have regarding our state assessment system to

1. Are all students (grades 3-8 & 11) required to participate in the Spring 2021 Oregon Summative Assessments?

Yes, but the required grade levels for spring 2021 assessment have changed based upon our amended waiver request. Students will be expected to participate in ELA assessments in Grades 3, 6, 7, & 11, mathematics in Grades 4, 7, 8, & 11, and science in Grades 5 & 8 for both our general and alternate assessments.

2. Are parents legally allowed to opt out of Spring 2021 Oregon Summative Assessments? 

Yes. ORS 329.479 provides parents the right to opt out of the ELA and Mathematics summative assessments using ODE-provided parent opt-out forms available on our Test Administration page under the “Forms" pulldown. Parent opt-out forms are now available in form-filled PDF documents to allow for electronic submission. The parent opt-out forms are available in ten additional languages (in addition to the traditional provision of English and Spanish versions). Note: It is a violation of both state and federal law for a local education agency, including school boards, district staff, or school staff, to opt a child out of testing on behalf of a parent.

OAR 581-021-009 allows school districts to excuse students from state testing to accommodate a student's disabilities or religious beliefs. This process would apply to tests other than ELA and Math.  Note: To request this exemption, parents must submit a written request to the school district, listing the reasons for the request and proposing an alternative individualized learning activity for the student that meets the same goals that would be accomplished by participation in state testing.

3. Can the opt-out letter districts send include Science in addition to Math and ELA? There is frequent parent confusion between this process and the-opt out letter for ELA/Math.

Science is subject to a separate process, as is the ELPA, called parent exemption. It cannot be combined with ELA and Math. Senate Bill 678, which proposed to expand the opt-out process, did not move forward.

4. What's the difference between an opt-out and a parent request for exemption?

The term “opt-out" refers to the legislatively created process that applies specifically to the ELA and mathematics assessments. Parents may opt out of ELA and Mathematics by submitting the ODE state-created opt-out form (see Question #1 above for links). Exemptions are available under OAR 581-021-0009: Exemptions. Parents may submit a written request based on disability or religion.

5. Will ODE report school, district, and state academic achievement results from spring 2021 assessments?

The US Department of Education (ED) will not require ODE to use the summative academic achievement data for most accountability purposes, such as identifying Comprehensive/Targeted Support and Improvement schools and districts (CSI/TSI). However, ED will require ODE to publicly disseminate aggregate academic achievement results at the state, district, and school levels, possibly contingent upon participation rates and minimum n-size reporting restrictions. 

6. Will the online reporting system (ORS) still be available for districts to review district level data?

ODE will not make summative assessment results available to districts within our online reporting system (ORS) this year, as we need time to carefully review the data and ensure that it is made publicly available in a manner that conveys information regarding student context.

7. What is the testing schedule for 2020-21??

The assessment window will be available from April 13 - June 11, 2021. ODE delayed the start date in order for students to have more instruction time prior to students participating in the state test and to allow districts and schools time to transition students to in-person learning. This year, ODE also expanded the testing window to provide districts and schools some additional flexibility. 

8. Can a school board or public charter school implement a district-wide opt-out policy or require parents to opt-in to state assessments this year?​​

ODE understands that some districts/public charter schools will be exploring actions to make state assessments a district opt-out approach or a parent opt-in model for this school year. Having a district opt out of, or parents opt-in to, state assessments are both violations of Division 22 requirements (OAR 581-022-2100), which would require an acknowledgement of such by the Superintendent when assurances are submitted as well as a corrective action plan to come into compliance in the 2021-22 school year. Parents who want their child to participate in state summative assessments should be given an opportunity to do so. ​

9. Will the Spring 2021 Oregon Summative Assessments have the same number and types of questions as in prior years?

No. The ELA and mathematics summative assessments will be shortened to maximize the efficiency of testing times. The ELA assessments will be available for administration in Grades 3 - 8 and 11 but will only be required in Grades 3,  6, & 7. The Mathematics assessments will also be available for parent selection in Grades 3-8 & 11, but will only be required in Grades 4, 7, 8, & 11. The Science assessment will be similar in design to prior years, however, field test items will be removed to support a reduction in testing time. The Science assessment will be available in grades 5, 8, and 11, but only required in Grades 5 & 8. ODE has also removed field test items from the Oregon Extended Assessment to decrease testing time.

10. Does the shortened 2020 - 21 ELA and Mathematics Summative Assessment cover the same content as the regular 2019 - 2020 Summative Assessment? 

Yes, the questions on the shortened test represent the similar array of questions on the full form of the test and cover the same skills and knowledge.

11. How were the state summative assessments shortened?

In partnership with the Oregon Assessment Advisory Committee, Oregon's Technical Advisory Committee, and Cambium Assessment Inc., ODE evaluated items and assessment targets in each content area to reduce the number of items and testing time while maintaining overall testing validity and reliability in ELA and mathematics. Field test items have been removed from the science assessment and the Oregon Extended Assessments to decrease testing time (Field test items are items that are piloted within assessments for potential use in future assessments and do not count toward student scores).

12. What are the differences between the shortened 2020 - 21 ELA and Mathematics summative assessments and the 2019 - 20 ELA and Mathematics summative assessments? 

Compared to the 2019 - 20 ELA and Mathematics summative assessments, the number of questions has been reduced by 40% on the shortened 2020 - 21 ELA and Mathematics summative assessments. The shortened test will still provide an accurate measure of learning for student groups while reducing testing time and allowing districts and schools more flexibility in administering the test to students. Target Reports will continue to serve as an important resource in understanding longitudinal learning trends, if participation rates are sufficient to allow this use.

13. What are the estimated average testing times for the Spring 2021 Summative Assessments? 

ODE has significantly decreased the number of items in both the ELA and mathematics tests by 40% and removed field test items from the science assessment. The estimated testing times for each grade level of the summative assessments are available in Table 16 of the Oregon Test Administration Manual

Content Areas (estimates for all grades)Estimated Testing Times (hrs : mins)
English language arts1:15  
The estimated times for the shortened ELA and Mathematics assessments were calculated based on the 40% reduction of the Computer Adaptive Test (CAT) items and the removal of the performance task items. The Science estimated time is based on the removal of field test items for the 2020 - 21 academic year.  The Oregon Extended Assessments have also been revised to include only operational items, which will result in a 25% test time reduction.

14. What accessibility resources are available on the Spring 2021 Oregon Summative Assessments?

The Oregon Statewide Assessment System is providing all of the same accessibility resources available as in prior years. Please visit ODE's Accessibility Manual or contact your school or district test coordinator for more information about what accessibility resources are available. 

15. What braille resources are available on the 2021 statewide summative tests?

Oregon Statewide Assessment System continues to offer the full suite of braille resources for the statewide summative tests.

16. Can districts administer summative assessments remotely?

No. Remote administration is not supported, primarily due to concerns around the impact on families, student privacy, and test item security.

17. Why are individual student reports not available in the Online Reporting System in 2020-21?

The primary purpose of Oregon's statewide summative assessments is to help districts and schools identify strengths and opportunities to improve their systems of teaching and learning. To be interpreted meaningfully, summative data assume some level of comparability across the state. Because of the many impacts to student learning in 2020-21 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, and more, summative data is at risk of being misused and misinterpreted. Furthermore, while not intended to be high-stakes, statewide summative assessment data is often used for practices such as course placement, tracking, identifying needed interventions, and more. Making student-level results available in 2020-21 without first reviewing test taking patterns and communicating clear expectations about possible uses and misuses of the data could have highly detrimental effects on students, particularly students who are historically underserved in our system. Districts will have access to student data via the Accountability Warehouse Extract application. In addition, Individual Student Reports will be made available within our online reporting system in future years, consistent with prior practice.

18. Will district- and school-level data be available from 2020-21 testing?

District- and school-level data will be available from the Oregon Department of Education after it is validated and has met appropriate participation requirements. It will be critical for districts and schools to use this system-level data with caution and as part of multiple measures, and communicate this information clearly with users of the data.

19. Are Essential Skills required for the class of 2021? What about the class of 2022?

The State Board of Education has suspended Essential Skills requirements for the class of 2021. ODE recommended that the Assessment of Essential Skills requirements be suspended for students who graduate in 2021-22 and the State Board approved this suspension on April 15, 2021. The suspension applies only to the Assessment of Essential Skills requirements; it does not include the Personalized Learning requirements, nor does it include the local performance assessment requirements.

20. Will Performance Tasks return in future years? What will happen if the writing Essential Skill is required in future years?

ODE is currently evaluating our test blueprint options for 2021-22 and beyond.

21. Will the Kindergarten Assessment be required in the fall 2021?

The Oregon State Board of Education has suspended the Kindergarten Assessment (KA) for the fall of 2020. ODE recommended that the KA be suspended for the fall of 2021 to allow for a year of education and community partner engagement. The State Board of Education agreed with the recommendation and suspended the fall 2021 KA on April 15, 2021.

22. Do the students in our district/school who have chosen to complete the year in Comprehensive Distance Learning (CDL) need to come into a school to take summative assessments?

ODE does not require and would not recommend that parents bring students on to campus to participate in state summative assessments in situations where they have health or safety concerns. ODE is not supporting remote administration of state assessments. Assessments will only be offered on site. Parents or families with children in CDL models who have concerns regarding their child’s health or safety can complete the opt out for ELA or mathematics summative assessments. Science participation is typically subject to the exemption process, but parents may also choose not to bring their child on campus for available testing in science or on the ELPA. ODE expects districts to provide all students with an opportunity to participate in state summative assessment on site, but parents determine whether that happens. There is no form to complete nor letter to write, though we would encourage parents and schools to communicate about this process.

23. Can districts choose to require all summative assessments, regardless of Oregon’s statewide waiver?

Yes. There is no regulation or policy in place that prohibits the administration of all available state summative assessments in each grade level. The opt-out and parent-requested exemption processes still apply.

24. The parent opt-out notice and form states that Individual Student Reports (ISRs) will not be available. However, information in the 4-8-2021 AA Update states that ISRs will be provided. Can you please explain?

There are two different ISRs in Oregon’s Statewide Assessment System. The unofficial ISRs that are typically made available through our Online Reporting System will not be available this year. However, the ISRs that are made available through the Accountability Warehouse Extract system (SAR application) will be available. We apologize for the lack of clarity and understand that this may be a source of confusion for parents that you will be expected to address.​


There are several ways that the Assessment Team engages education and community partners and makes efforts to increase the availability and clarity of important communications. This page provides the following:

  1. a list of contacts whom you may need to consult with and the information needed to effect the communication (e.g., name, phone number, email address, title, etc.);
  2. the resources that you can contact to support successful use of our statewide assessments, including our Educational Service District Partners, who serve as a first point of contact for questions about our Oregon Statewide Assessment System, our test delivery vendor’s (American Institutes for Research’s) HelpDesk information, and a one-pager of Assessment and Accountability staff contacts;
  3. a list of ODE’s assessment-related events in which Oregon educators are invited to contribute;
  4. the archived versions of our Assessment & Accountability Updates, our weekly newsletter that includes succinct updates that provide assessment users with critical and timely information;
  5. our advisory groups and panels, along with lists of respective participants;
  6. a list of Frequently Asked Questions; and
  7. descriptions of the work of historical work groups whose contributions helped define our assessment system.

Advisory Groups

​ODE engaged impacted stakeholders from January through May 2018 to help address which high school accountability assessment options it should pursue. The High School Assessment report, which includes a description of the stakeholders engaged, the process used, and the results of the engagement process, as well as the results of studies and related recommendations from state and national measurement experts, was submitted by the Assessment Team to the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction on June 5, 2018 for consideration related to a final decision on the topic. A final decision not to pursue a nationally recognized college entrance examination as our accountability measure in high school was announced in Executive Numbered Memo 001-2018-19 on July 11, 2018. Please contact Dan Farley, Director of Assessment, if you have any questions or concerns about the report.

The Oregon Math Leaders Network is a community of math practitioners who work together to implement and support math teaching and learning in Oregon. Participants include teacher leaders, TOSAs, program administrators, college faculty, and math community partners. If you identify as a math leader, you are! We support each other personally and professionally by asking critical questions, collaborating on problems of practice, and sharing our work. 

Because this network spans the state, the topics of our collaboration will generally be driven by district needs. Examples of such activities include:
  • Professional learning opportunities, for both teachers and administrators.
  • Curating and sharing promising resources and effective strategies.
  • Support for evaluation and implementation of instructional materials.
  • Support for building-level activities such as lesson study groups and one-on-one discussions.
  • Networking with other math leaders across Oregon.
For the 2020-21 school year, the network plans to meet virtually on the 2nd Thursday of each month.
In addition to the monthly meetings, the Network will have the opportunity to participate in occasional “special events” such as professional learning opportunities and guest speakers. Opportunities to register for these special events will be advertised through the Oregon Math Leaders Network as well as the Oregon Math Educator Update newsletter.

Oregon English Language Arts Update

The Oregon English Language Arts Teacher Update provides information about promising practices, professional development opportunities, useful links and ELA assessment information.

ELA Oregon CCSS Review and Feedback Survey
After collecting public comment and suggested revisions from various stakeholder groups regarding the Oregon English Language Arts Standards (CCSS-ELA), we have compiled the feedback for additional opportunities for public input. Please review the initial feedback and proposed updates for the revised Oregon English Language Arts Standards.


Social Sciences Content & Assessment Panel

Assessment Educator Opportunity – Social Sciences Analysis Scoring Guide Pilot

The Oregon Department of Education is recruiting qualified educators to pilot draft versions of an updated Social Sciences Analysis Scoring Guide for the purpose of assessing student assignments, performance assessments, writing responses, reading analysis, etc. for the following grade bands: high school (9 – 12), middle school (6 – 8), elementary (3 – 5).

Educators will be asked to provide feedback on the revised Social Sciences Analysis Scoring Guide. Applicants will also be asked to provide multiple levels of student samples to serve as potential anchor papers for future use to support Oregon educators.

  • Recruitment applications will be accepted until February 8, 2019. ODE will notify successful applicants of their inclusion in the project, along with information on next steps.
  • Educators will receive compensation at the ODE rate of pay and receive up to 4 PDU credits for participation. Sign-up Here

For further questions, please contact either: Tony Bertrand, Social Sciences Assessment Specialist, Tony Bertrand (or) Amit Kobrowski, Social Sciences Standards and Instruction Specialist, Amit Kobrowski.


Education and Community Partners

ODE engaged impacted education and community partners from January through May 2018 to help address which high school accountability assessment options it should pursue. Oregon’s High School Assessment Options: Report and Recommendations includes a description of the education and community partners engaged, the process used, and the results of the engagement process, as well as the results of studies and related recommendations from state and national measurement experts, was submitted by the Assessment Team to the Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction on June 5, 2018 for consideration related to a final decision on the topic. If you have any questions or concerns about the report or the recommendations included therein please contact Dan Farley, Director of Assessment.

Work Groups

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