Frequently Asked Questions (Families)
The information on this page is designed to answer common questions about end-of-year assessments. If you have additionally questions that are not included here, please contact your school’s principal.
About the Tests
Q: Why are we testing students during a pandemic?
Tests provide information to teachers, families, and students about their learning. As district staff continue to support student learning in this unusual context, it is important to monitor students’ progress towards grade level standards.
Q: What assessments are being administered and in what grades?
i-Ready Reading Diagnostic
K-8th, 9th graders using the Orton-Gillingham intervention
i-Ready Math Diagnostic
5th, 8th, 11th
District Social Studies
5th, 8th, 11th
Q: What is being done with the test information?
Benchmark 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.
Results of the end-of-year diagnostic test can also be used to determine retention and promotion eligibility for students in grades K-2 and 4-8.
Q: My student just took the state assessments. Why do they need to take the District benchmarks?
Under Michigan’s Return to Learn legislation, the District is required to administer the i-Ready assessment . Students are not required to participate. While the assessment administration is a legal requirement, the i-Ready and District Benchmark assessments are used by teachers, along with school and district leaders, to provide support to students and to be transparent about how students are doing academically. After typical educational settings have been disrupted due to the COVID pandemic, it is more important for district staff to know where students are excelling and where they need support during the summer and/or fall of the next school year. These assessments provide that information. For more information about the Return to Learn legislation, click here.
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: Are there any penalties my child or to the school if they do not take the District benchmark tests?
No, there will not be any penalties for students who do not participate in end of year testing. However, if students do not take the benchmark assessments, teachers will be unable to use their data to know exactly where your student needs academic support. This could delay the creation of instructional plan that meets your students’ needs in the 2021-2022 school year.
Q: Can I opt-out of taking the test?
Yes, but the expectation is that all students are to take the District benchmark and i-Ready tests. However, students whose IEPs do not require the i-Ready assessment are exempted and do not have to take it. Students can test at home during this test window. If you have a student who is at risk for retention, their i-Ready score could be used as a case for promotion. However, students who test at home will not be permitted to use those scores for promotion decisions. For more information on the District’s promotion rules, please visit [insert link].
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. If your student does not do well, 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: 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. Students who do not meet the qualifying score on the M-STEP may also be promoted based on exemptions requested by teachers and/or parents. Parents of third graders received a letter from the Superintendent in March that describes this in more detail.
Logistics for End of Year Testing
Q: My student hasn’t been in school in person all year. Do they still need to test?
Yes. Students, whether in person or online learning, need to complete the District assessments.
Q: Can my child take the test at home?
This depends on whether your student is testing for promotion purposes. If they are, then no, they cannot take the test at home. They must test in person at their school. If they are not testing for promotion purposes, yes they may complete testing while at home. If your student is at risk for retention and you do not want them to test in person, promotion is still an option through an agreement between you and your student’s teacher.
Q: If my child is not coming to in-person learning, do they have to come to a building to test?
This depends on your student’s risk for retention. Students who want to take the i-Ready assessment for promotion purposes will need to test in person at their school. Students who are not taking the i-Ready assessment for promotion purposes will have the option to test remotely like they did in the fall and winter.
Q: What if I can’t come when my school asks me?
If you cannot make your testing date, 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 a test.
Q: Does my student need to be in school all day?
No. 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. If you are unable to pickup your student, they may be able to remain in learning center for the day. Please contact your school to confirm that space is available.
Testing In Person
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. If your student is eligible for transportation through an specialized education plan, then someone from your student’s school will contact you about testing in person. At that time, you should let the school contact know if your student will be coming in to test in person. If your student will be coming in to test in person, then there is nothing else that you need to do. The school will make arrangements for transportation and communicate the transportation plan to you before test day.
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. Devices used for testing will be cleaned in between uses. 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: Can all my children take the tests at the same school?
Yes. If in person testing is required for your student, they must test at their assigned schools. 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?
Yes. 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: 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?
Yes. 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.
Support for Students and Families
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).