Changes In Testing

With spring around the corner, students are now becoming familiar with the new Washington State standardized testing. For kids, the test will include new structures and online/electronic tools that must be learned to show their full potential. For adults, this means new language, testing formats, and scoring. Here is a general overview of the new changes that will impact students at Raymond Elementary.

Students will take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is used to identify if students are meeting Common Core State Standards. These standards are common across most states in the USA. Students will be taking electronic tests on Mathematics and English/ Language Arts. While there are several standards for each grade, there are 4 “claims” for each subject.


1.)  Students can explain and apply mathematical concepts and interpret and carry out mathematical procedures with precision and fluency.

2.)  Students can solve a range of complex well-posed problems in pure and applied mathematics, making productive use of knowledge and problem solving strategies.

3.)  Students can clearly and precisely construct viable arguments to support their own reasoning and to critique the reasoning of others.

4.)  Students can analyze complex, real-world scenarios and can construct and use mathematical models to interpret and solve problems.

English/Language Arts

1.)  Students can read closely and analytically to comprehend a range of increasingly complex literary and informational texts.

2.)  Students can produce effective writing for a range of purposes and audiences.

3.)  Students can employ effective speaking and listening skills for a range of purposes and audiences.

4.)  Students can engage in research/inquiry to investigate topics, and to analyze, integrage, and present information.

Both subjects have a three-part test that consists of a computer adaptive test, classroom activity, and a performance task. The computer adaptive test will adapt based on correct/incorrect answers to provide great accuracy with student ability levels. After a short classroom activity coordinated by the teacher, students will complete a performance task. This portion has students apply their knowledge by answering questions centered on a common topic or problem.

All 3 rd through 6 th graders will take the Smarter Balanced Test in both math and ELA. 5 th grade students will also take the Science MSP (Measurement of Student Progress) electronically. This is the only test that hasn’t changed from the previous year. Testing will begin in mid-late march and carry through May. for additional information and practice. 

Contact Info: Chris Cady, 360-942-3415 option 1, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



In the musical You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Charlie has a book report due. He sings in a hesitant, scared voice: “If I start writing now…when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking which is not good at all…I’ll get a fresh start tomorrow…and it’s not due till Wednesday…so I’ll…have all of Tuesday unless…something should happen…Why does this always happen…I should be outside playing…getting fresh air and sunshine…I work best under pressure and there’ll be lots of pressure if I…wait till tomorrow…I should start writing now but if I…start writing now when I’m not really rested…it could upset my thinking…which is not good at all.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard a version of this from a student!

I’m a procrastinator. I know it. “I can return that phone call later.” “There will be time to finish this task tomorrow…at least before this weekend.”  Does this ring a bell? It’s a talk we all have with ourselves from time to time. Try to find someone who hasn’t procrastinated or grappled with putting off a task they know needs to be attended to. You will struggle to do so.

Surprisingly, there’s a scientific reason for this! Procrastination is so relatable, so universal, because the human brain is wired for it. Science explains that Charlie Brown’s struggle is sparked between two parts of the mind when it’s faced with a distasteful activity: a battle of the limbic system (the part of the brain that tells you to pull your hand away from a flame and avoid unpleasant tasks) and the prefrontal cortex (the internal “planner” that tells you to get the job done). When the limbic system wins, and that’s pretty often, the result is putting off for tomorrow what could (and should) be done today.

There are many great strategies for dealing with procrastination. Attack the hardest task when your energy is fresh and you give yourself the strongest chance of success. Doing otherwise can have a damaging domino effect. Putting off the dreaded item on your list saps your strength as you spend more time and energy dreading the task than it would have taken to get it done. Attack your biggest, most dreaded job first thing and the rest is downhill. Another trick to overpowering procrastination is to assess your day and your tasks at lunchtime. By waiting until the end of the day you’re not only out of time to do anything about it, but you feel as if you failed. Often you will hear me use the phrase, “It’s about what we can do, not what we can’t.” What I mean by that is to not look at a forest and say I’ll never get it done. See one tree and cut it down. If that’s too much, cut three branches. It’s about what you can do, not what you can’t. Finally, plan a “Get ‘er done” Day. Take that list of deeds and tasks that you’ve been putting off or ignoring, start out first thing in the morning and dedicate the day to checking them off your list. I find that the more I do the greater my momentum becomes. It’s pretty cool when after a bit you look back at that list you’ve been dreading and it’s disappeared.

Don’t allow procrastination to define you. Take charge of your tasks. No need to pick just one tactic. Have them all in your arsenal so you’re ready to handle whatever obstacle your battling brain might toss in your path.

Contact Info: Dave Vetter, 360-942-3415 option 2, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For those who are interested (and who wouldn't be?), here is a recorded copy of the RHS fight song. Additionally, if you'd like to use a copy as a ringtone, try this out!

(The full fight song is an "mp3" file that you can drop into iTunes and sync to your device. The ringtone is an "m4r" file that can be installed on an iPhone in the same way. If you have a different kind of device, you should be able to conduct an Internet search and determine how to install them.)


This document from the Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction offers some help for students and parents regarding using technology safely and responsibly.

Raymond school district has several methods by which we contact parents regarding various unusual situations. For example, we inform families regarding planned early releases, weather events and any emergency situations which may arise. The following communication methods are used:

Planned Early Release—You will receive an automated phone call reminding you of an early release that is on the calendar. We also have a downloadable calendar.

Weather Events

  • You will receive an automated phone call as early as possible. Sometimes we will be able to do this the night before. Other times it will depend upon what our transportation director finds when he drives the roads early in the morning.
    • Whenever the District declares a delay due to snow, parents should expect some disruption in the bus schedules and bus stops. In this situation, busses will not travel on hills. Students have been told by their drivers specifically where snow route bus stops are, but in general the busses will stick to main streets without hills or side streets. This means that, as a rule, Highway 101, Highway 6, Fowler, and Highway 105 will be the primary routes. The busses will be traveling slower than normal, so times are not very predictable; however, busses will wait longer than usual at each stop.
  • Website—Our front page has a link entitled "Emergency Information." normally, this page will mirror what you see on TV and what is announced on the radio.
  • Facebook—We will post on facebook any weather info.
  • Television—The Seattle stations provide a list of schools with late start or closed information.
  • Radio—Local radio stations (95.3, 105.7) will announce late starts or closed information.

Emergency Situations

  • If possible, we will send out an automated phone call. Specific instructions regarding the situation may include pick-up directions, likely duration of the event and any specifics from city, county or state authorities.
  • We will also attempt to update our website and Facebook, as appropriate.
  • We encourage parents to limit phone calls as the communication system may be under stress.

The State of Washington has once again changed the assessment instruments used to check student learning. The new tests are called "Smarter Balance" assessments and will increase the rigor of the tests significantly. According to the Smarter Balance web site, the "assessments will go beyond multiple-choice questions to include extended response and technology enhanced items, as well as performance tasks that allow students to demonstrate critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.

Performance tasks challenge students to apply their knowledge and skills to respond to complex real-world problems. They can best be described as collections of questions and activities that are coherently connected to a single theme or scenario. These activities are meant to measure capacities such as depth of understanding, writing and research skills, and complex analysis, which cannot be adequately assessed with traditional assessment questions. The performance tasks will be taken on a computer (but will not be computer adaptive) and will take one to two class periods to complete.

Smarter Balanced capitalizes on the precision and efficiency of computer adaptive testing (CAT). This approach represents a significant improvement over traditional paper-and-pencil assessments used in many states today, providing more accurate scores for all students across the full range of the achievement continuum."

The OSPI website has some information regarding the new tests. Specifically, parents and students may find these links helpful:

There is a site with Interactive Sample Math Items available.

Additionally, there are printable versions of those items.

Printable Versions of Sample Items

English/Language Arts, by grade bands:

Short Answer:                   ELA 3-5            ELA 6-8           ELA 11

Activity and Performance:   ELA 3-5            ELA 6-8           ELA 11

Math, by grade bands:

Short Answer:                    Math 3-5          Math 6-8          Math 11

Acitivy and Performance:     Math 3-5          Math 6-8          Math 11

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