Free OAKS Practice Test Review
The Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) is the standardized test given to all public school students in Oregon in grades 3-8 and 10. This includes children in public schools, charter schools, and those who are home schooled. The tests are given in math, reading, writing, and science, and also help determine each school's progress as required by the federal No Child Left Behind law. The exams can be given as early as January or as late as April.
The reading and math exams are given to every student taking the OAKS exam. The writing exam is given to those in the fourth, seventh, and tenth grades. The science exam is given to those in the fifth, eighth, and tenth grade. Students in the fifth, eighth, or tenth grade may also be given an optional social studies assessment. Every exam is given using the OAKS Online system, and each test is a computer-based adaptive test. This means that the exam itself self-adjusts during test taking and questions presented later in the exam are shown based on how many and what questions students answered correctly earlier in the exam. The writing exam, however, can still be taken in the traditional paper-and-pencil format. While the OAKs assessments are untimed, students taking the exam on the computer are timed out after 20 minutes of inactivity.
The OAKS assessments are what are known as criterion-referenced tests. This means that each student's score is not compared against others taking the exam (or against those who have already taken the exam), but instead are compared against what knowledge and skills students in that grade level are expected to have. Each student is given one of the following performance levels on each exam: exceeds, meets, nearly meets, low, or very low. Students are given approximately 40-50 questions within each assessment in a multiple-choice format.
Students' performance on the OAKS will not affect whether they are promoted to the next grade level the following year; however, school districts may take other actions with students who are deemed underperforming (including, at a minimum, providing these students with additional assistance in the classroom). For students in grades 3-8 who do not pass one of the assessments, the state must get their parents' explicit permission in order for the student to be retested. For students in high school who do not pass one or more of the assessments, the parents' explicit permission is not required in order to be retested. Students in grades 3-8 are only given one additional attempt to pass the OAKS exams, whereas students in high school can be given up to two additional attempts to pass.
High school students must pass the OAKS in order to receive a diploma. There are alternative assessments students can take in case they do not pass the OAKs exam, including the SAT or ACT. Students who are unable to pass the OAKS exam or other assessments may also be eligible for a modified diploma from the state of Oregon, though additional requirements must be met to receive such a diploma. Students who have a disability-related reason or whose parents cite religious reasons for not wanting to take the test can opt out, though very few students in the state of Oregon use one of these exemptions. The state also allows modified OAKS exams to be given for students with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), though these tests are deemed invalid for the purposes of school and district accountability. In addition, districts can adjust the score needed to pass OAKS when modified exams are given.
The state of Oregon provides a variety of resources for those preparing to take the OAKs on the website of the Department of Education. This includes a number of practice tests, though scores are not provided for any of the practice tests.
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Last Updated: 03/01/2017