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NEWS RELEASE

July 2, 2015

Media Contact: Crystal Greene, crystal.greene@state.or.us, 503-428-3481

Preliminary Smarter Balanced Results Exceed State Projections Oregon students and teachers rise to the challenge of higher expectations

(Salem, OR) – While final test results will not be available until later this summer, preliminary state-level results show that more students than anticipated met Oregon’s college- and career-ready standards on new state tests. With 95 percent of tests in, students have exceeded expectations in a vast majority of subjects and grades. Oregon had expected roughly 30 to 40 percent of students to meet new higher standards this first year, based on field test data from 2014. Early results indicate that statewide, students will surpass those expectations.

Click here for preliminary state-level results.

Students who receive a 3 or 4 on the test (on a 4-point scale) are considered on track to graduate high school college- and career-ready. This year represents a new baseline for Oregon, and the state expects the percent meeting to increase in the coming years. In the past, when Oregon raised expectations, there was an initial drop in scores followed by an increase as students and teachers rose to the challenge of higher standards.

“I am very pleased to see so many Oregon students demonstrating college- and career-ready skills in English and math,” Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor said. “Oregon has raised the bar and this transition to higher expectations will require persistence and patience from our students and a continued focus on implementation and high-quality instruction from our educators.”

Higher Standards, Quality Instruction, Better Assessments Over the past five years, educators across the state have worked together to implement more rigorous math and English standards in every K-12 classroom in Oregon. This spring, more than 280,000 Oregon students in grades 3-8 and 11 took new tests, known as Smarter Balanced, aligned to these higher standards. These tests move beyond the rote memorization and fill in the bubble format of past multiple choice tests. Students are asked to write, reason, think critically, and solve multi-step problems that better reflect classroom learning and the real world. The results provide a clearer picture about what Oregon students know and can do – and where they need the most help – so the state can raise the bar for all students.

“Students in my classes prepared for the test all year, but there was no ‘teaching to the test,’” said Janna Reid, a teacher at South Middle School in Grants Pass. “Students practiced the skills they’ll use after middle school and beyond high school. These skills involve critical thinking and problem-solving, and perhaps the most noteworthy skill: an emphasis on writing, and writing for a purpose. They can now take their next steps with greater success as they have gained confidence and practice in writing and editing and are able to communicate their deeper thinking faster and at a higher level.”

These online assessments ask students to engage in new ways through interactive questions, multi-step problems, and student writing. These types of tests take longer than purely multiple choice tests, but they also provide more accurate information on student learning and are designed to be more engaging than previous state tests.

“I liked that it’s more challenging because it’s pushing our understanding of what we’ve learned this year,” said one of Gladstone’s Kraxberger Middle School students. “I think it’s better to be pushed a little harder on something that’s not going to be on our final grade for the year so our teachers can really understand where we are.”

While these tests provide valuable feedback on student learning, they are only one measure of students’ academic success and no student will be held back a grade or be kept from graduating based on the results of this assessment.

“There is still much work to do, but these early results indicate our state is headed in the right direction,” Noor said. “Final test results will provide important feedback to students, parents, and educators on how prepared kids are for their next steps so we can address learning gaps early and better prepare our students for future success.”

Final school, district, and state-level results will be released later this summer once all results are in.

For more information on Smarter Balanced, click here.

Our Promise to Oregon

Promise of Oregon

Click HD to view full-quality video...Port Orford-Langlois School District 2CJ presents its first Promise of Oregon campaign video! Produced, directed and edited by PHS Digital Media independent study student, David Sax.... even the awesome music bed!

Posted by Leila Cassel on Wednesday, May 27, 2015


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