Amended Assessment Waiver Request

Having trouble viewing this email? View it as a Web page.

Oregon Department of Education - Oregon achieves - together


Since submitting the Strategic Assessment and Accountability Waiver in January 2021, the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) has been anticipating a response from the United States Department of Education (USDE). We at ODE remain committed to the core values and stance outlined in our strategic waiver--this is not the year or the moment for summative assessment. The reasons for this stance are outlined in our original waiver request. 

Last Friday, USDE issued a letter indicating strong support for Oregon’s SEED Survey. The letter also signaled, however, the need for a revised waiver request to meet federal requirements. Despite strong and consistent support of the waiver request from educators, districts, community-based organizations, elected officials, and state leaders, it is clear that our original waiver did not meet the minimum federal requirements, and we must forge a new path forward. ODE’s next necessary step is to submit an amended waiver. The amended waiver must meet baseline federal requirements to administer summative assessments and report results. Failure to comply with these requirements jeopardizes Federal Title I dollars for the State of Oregon. We understand and acknowledge that the timing of the waiver negotiations have put additional strain on districts.

ODE’s amended waiver request strikes the best balance possible between federal requirements and the desire to preserve maximum opportunities for students and teachers to center relationships and connections while most are just returning to Onsite or Hybrid learning. The terms outlined below will be made available for public comment from April 2-9, 2021 on the Assessment Team’s Communication webpage (and will be linked from the ODE homepage). The amended assessment waiver requires administration of selective summative assessments, both general and alternate, in the specific content areas and grades, as indicated in the table below. ODE’s understanding is that this plan meets the minimum level of assessment that the USDE will accept in a waiver this year. 


Plan for 2021 OSAS Summative Assessment Administration

Grade Level

Required Administration

(except for students opted-out of ELA and/or Math per ORS 329.479 or exempted from Science per OAR 581-021-009)

Additional Assessment Opportunity *
3 English Language Arts (ELA) Mathematics
4 Mathematics ELA
5 Science ELA & Mathematics
6 ELA Mathematics
7 ELA & Mathematics N/A
8 Mathematics & Science ELA
11 ELA & Mathematics Science

* ODE is required to make all summative general and alternate assessments available in ELA, Mathematics, and Science.

Additionally, the amended waiver requires ODE to make all summative general and alternate assessments in English Language Arts (ELA), Mathematics, and Science available for administration in Spring 2021 for parents and families who want their child to participate in the statewide assessments. This plan aligns with USDE requirements while ensuring the least impact on in-person learning time students and teachers have in the remaining school year. Additionally, the amended waiver continues to highlight the ODE’s SEED Surveys, which we believe to reflect the most important and actionable data we can collect at this moment. 

Student Participation in Statewide Assessments
ODE is submitting a separate Accountability Addendum request that is expected to be approved by USDE. Pursuant to that addendum, the USDE will not require that ODE use summative data to identify Comprehensive School Improvement/Targeted School Improvement schools, nor will schools, districts, or states be expected to meet the 95% participation requirement. Districts will be required to plan and schedule testing opportunities for students, to inform parents and families about testing schedules, to post and provide opt-out information, and to allow for parents to request additional testing opportunities in all available subjects. It is not expected that multiple efforts are made to reschedule, retest, or make additional arrangements for students to complete the test.

In addition to the sampling plan outlined above, ODE has taken several steps to help meet the needs of our current context:


Student Educational Equity Development Survey Pilot
ODE is making available a SEED Survey pilot, to provide districts with  actionable information around student access to learning resources, sense of belonging, opportunity to learn, and self-efficacy beliefs. This resource is reflective of what educators, district leaders, and community partners have reflected the most value.

Shortened Assessment Blueprints and Reduced Testing Time
ODE developed shortened test blueprints for the general English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics assessments in the fall of 2020. The shortened test blueprints remove performance tasks and decrease in the number of items on the computer adaptive test, resulting in a 67% reduction in testing time. The Science assessment test blueprint was shortened by about 10 minutes by the removal of field test items. The Oregon Extended Assessments also reflect shortened test blueprints in all content areas, with the removal of all field test items resulting in a 25% reduction in testing time.

Updated Manuals, Parent Communication Tools, and Parent Opt-out Forms
ODE has posted an updated Test Administration Manual (TAM) on the Assessment Administration webpage, along with communication for families around the opt-out process per ORS 329.479. Opt-out forms that are possible to submit electronically are available in English and Spanish, and have also been translated into Chinese, Vietnamese, Russian, German, French, Tagalog, Japanese, Korean, and Arabic.

Training Requirements and FAQ
ODE has posted training requirements for the Oregon Statewide Assessment System on ODE’s Assessment Training Materials page. Please note that ODE’s January 22 strategic assessment and accountability waiver did not cover the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA); no changes are expected for ELPA Summative testing. See Administering the ELPA Screener and Summative in 2020-21 for comprehensive guidance on ELPA testing. A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) will be maintained on ODE’s Assessment Communications page

This year continues to bring unexpected challenges and shifts. It is not possible to express my heart-felt appreciation for all you are doing at this time to support your students, families, staff and community. I know you are working day and night, and changes like this add significantly to your challenge. ODE stands ready to partner with districts as we navigate this process. Please contact ODE’s Assessment Team with any questions, concerns, or recommendations.