Information regarding incoming freshmen placement testing

November 19, 2015

The letter below has been sent via regular mail to families of eighth-graders residing in Oak Park and River Forest.

We welcome you and your child to our Oak Park & River Forest High School community! We hope the scope and variety of the transition activities we have planned will help you and your child feel comfortable as you begin the move from eighth grade to high school.

OPRFHS administers placement tests for freshman year courses in English, Math, Science, History, and World Language. Eighth grade residents of Oak Park and River Forest who intend to enroll in the ninth grade year at OPRFHS are required to take the placement tests, except that students who take the DLM instead of PARCC typically do not take the high school placement tests.

Placement testing this year will take place at OPRFHS on Saturday, December 5, 2015. Doors will open at 7:45 a.m. with a testing start time of 8:00 a.m. It will include the following tests:

  • EXPLORE (English, Math, Reading, and Science Reasoning sections)
  • Supplemental math items from retired PLAN and ACT tests. These items will focus on algebra concepts that are not included on the EXPLORE test. This will replace the additional math test we gave in April the past two years.
  • Spanish, French, and Italian language tests. Students currently enrolled in Spanish, French, or Italian who intend to continue in the same language in high school will also take a world language placement test for that language. No language test is required for students currently enrolled in German language classes, students not currently enrolled in a language class, and students who intend to switch to a new language in high school. 

Your child should arrive at the main entrance of Oak Park & River Forest High School at 201 N. Scoville Avenue no later than 8:00 a.m. on December 5.  Doors will open at 7:45. Please remind your child to…

  • Eat breakfast the morning of December 5. 
  • Bring two #2 pencils that are not mechanical pencils.
  • Bring a calculator. Students may not use calculators/apps on their phones.
  • Remove his/her hat upon entering the building.
  • Turn cell phones off upon entering the classroom. Students will not be allowed to use their cell phones at any time once they have entered the testing rooms until they have been dismissed from testing. 
  • A student whose phone sounds during testing will be asked to leave the testing room and will be rescheduled for make-up testing.

End times for testing will depend upon whether students are taking the world language test and whether they test with standard time or with testing accommodations related to their IEP or 504 plan.

  • Standard time testing will conclude around 12:15 p.m. for students taking the language test; students taking just the EXPLORE/supplemental math tests will be dismissed by 11:30 a.m.
  • Students testing with accommodations will conclude by 12:30 p.m. or 1:00 p.m., based on the student’s accommodations.

Parents who will pick up their child at the conclusion of testing should determine a meeting spot for pick up.

Here are a few additional details about the December 5 placement tests:

  • EXPLORE is a pre-ACT test designed by ACT for 8th and 9th graders.
  • The four subjects on the EXPLORE Test are the same as on the ACT, the college-admissions test OPRFHS students take in the spring of junior year.
  • OPRFHS uses the test results along with information from the 8th grade school (standardized test results, 8th grade course and grade information), as well as family input, to place students in the English, Math, Science, History, and World Language courses they take as freshmen at the high school.
  • You and your child may find the test results useful in planning high school courses to build upon academic strengths and address areas for academic improvement.
  • District 200 will work with staff from the middle schools to implement testing accommodations consistent with a child’s IEP or 504 Plan.
  • Additional information and Sample EXPLORE test questions are available at .  Full length released tests are available by googling EXPLORE 05A and/or EXPLORE 04B.

For students who miss the EXPLORE Test on Saturday, December 5, there will be three (3) make-up test sessions at the high school: 

  • Tuesday, December 8 from 4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 12 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • Saturday, January 9 from 8:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Registration is required for the make-up placement exams.  To register your student for the December 8, 12 or January 9 make-up test, please contact Ms. Lisa Evans, Administrative Assistant/Assessment and Research, at 708.434.3573 or 

If you have any questions about the placement tests or the use of the test results, please contact me at 708.434.3373 or  For questions about testing accommodations, please contact your child’s teacher or case manager at the middle school.