Frequently Asked Questions (Families)

  • Q: Why are we testing students during a pandemic? 

    Tests provide information to teachers, families, and students about their learning.  Some tests are required annually by the state and federal departments of education. These tests are used as a measure of student achievement.  

    Q: What assessments are being administered and in what grades? 

    3rd Grade 

    M-STEP Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), WIDA*  

    4th Grade 

    M-STEP Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), WIDA*  

    5th Grade 

    M-STEP Mathematics, English Language Arts (ELA), Science Field Test, & Social Studies, WIDA*  

    6th Grade 

    M-STEP Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), WIDA*  

    7th Grade 

    M-STEP Mathematics and English Language Arts (ELA), WIDA*  

    8th Grade 

    PSAT, M-STEP in Science Field Test and Social Studies, WIDA*  

    9th Grade 

    PSAT, WIDA*, AP Tests**  

    10th Grade 

    PSAT, WIDA*, AP Tests**  

    11th Grade 

    SAT, M-STEP in Science Field Test, Social Studies, ACT WorkKeys, AP TESTS**, WIDA*  

    12th Grade 

    WIDA*, AP Tests**  

    *WIDA is administered to select students.  Students are identified by the Home Language Survey in Power School designating a home language other than English is spoken in the home. Arabic, Bengal, Hmong and Spanish represent the top languages spoken in the district.  

    **AP Tests correspond with AP courses. Schools will offer on-site 

    Q: What is being done with the test information? 

    State tests are provided to assess the district’s overall academic performance and individual student’s academic progress. Individual test results are shared with families. Schools receive test results for students enrolled at that school. All test results are shared with district. Teachers, schools and the district use test information to make decisions to better support student learning in the future.  

    Q: What other ways is the District measuring my student’s learning this year? 

    Your student’s teacher is the best measurer of your student’s learning this year. They consider many pieces of data to gauge your child’s learning. This includes student work, classroom contributions, results from District-administered assessments (iReady, etc), and teacher-administered assessments like tests and quizzes.  

    Q: Can I opt-out of taking the test? 

    In most years, all students in grades 3-12 are required to take certain state tests.  Because of the pandemic, we are focusing on testing students who attend school in-person, or would like to come to school to test.  There is no penalty for a student missing state testing, but your child’s school will have more information to help plan for next year’s instruction if they participate in testing.  

    Q: Are there any penalties my child or to the school if they opt out of standardized tests? 

    This year, the District is allowing students to opt-in for testing.  There will not be any penalties for students who do not participate in testing.   

    Q: If my child is not coming to in-person learning, do they have to come to a building to test? 

    All students are invited to test, but testing is not mandated. If a student does take a test, in-person testing is the only option so students will have to come into their school.   

    Q: What if I can’t come when my school asks me? 

    If you cannot make your testing window, please reach out to your school to schedule another time to come in. There are makeup opportunities available to you. There is no penalty for missing an exam.  

    Q: What safety protocols are in place? 

    The District is following CDC Covid Safety Guidelines and Protocols. Students will be socially distanced and masked. All adults in the building will be masked and will follow social distance protocols. Additionally, all District employees are required to have a negative Covid-19 test before entering a building and must submit daily wellness checks prior to entering a building.   

    Q: My student hasn’t been in school in person all year. Do they still need to test? 

    Students, whether in person or online learning, have the opportunity to test, but are not required to participate. The test will be administered in person at schools. Testing is not mandated this year.  

    Q: Does my student need to be in school all day if they are only testing for three hours? 

    Parents will have the option to pick up their student when testing is complete. You will be given a test schedule ahead of time to know when your student is testing and when the pick-up times will be. Testing will happen during the school day.  

    Q: How will transportation work? 

    Transportation will be provided for students who require that service as outlined in their IEP or 504 plan. Otherwise, families will be responsible for getting their student to school.  

    Q: Can my child take the test at home? 

    No, the student cannot test at home. All tests must be administered at school.  

    Q: Can all my children take the tests at the same school? 

    No, students must test at their assigned schools. Test materials are delivered to specific schools for each student. If the children are enrolled at the same school, testing will be conducted at the same school.    

    Q: Can all my students test on the same day? 

    The testing coordinator will notify parents of the testing site, date and time. Families with multiple children will be given consideration to test on the same day.    

    Q: What happens if my student doesn’t do well? 

    State mandated test data is used to provide benchmark information to teachers and administrators that will support students at their individual level of proficiency. There is no penalty to a student for not performing at any given standard in Grades 4 - 11.  At this time, students in Grade 3 may be recommended for retention based on their performance on the Grade 3 MSTEP ELA Test.  If so, the District will work with families to apply eligible good cause exemptions, including the request of a parent or teacher for promotion.    

    Q:  Will the district support immigrant families or Limited English Proficient (LEP) families through the testing process?  

    Yes. The Office of Bilingual Education and Related Program will provide Interpretation and Translation services to parents. Training and Support Coordinators for ELs provide instructional strategies to teachers and staff working with English Learners (ELs).    

    Q: How does this test impact my third-grade student with the third-grade reading law?  

    At this time, students in Grade 3 may be recommended for retention based on their performance on the Grade 3 Reading MSTEP Test.  If so, the District will work with families to apply eligible good cause exemptions, including the request of a parent or teacher for promotion.  Parents of third graders received a letter from the Superintendent in March that describes this in more detail.   

    Q: Can I come into building to see the environment?  

    No, due to Covid safety guidelines and protocols, we ask that parents drop students off outside the building.    

    Q: Will the proper staff be available for medically fragile students? 

    The District will follow all required protocols to support our medically fragile students. Please reach out to your school to understand specific supports available to your child.   

    Q: My child’s teacher is teaching online. Who will be there to greet my student and administer on the day of the test?   

    School administrators and support staff will be onsite to greet your student on test day and make sure they feel welcome and at ease.