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Oregon Makes Small Gains In Minority Test Scores

 SALEM – Oregon Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo has announced the results of student performance on the 2009-10 annual state assessments in reading, mathematics, writing, and science.

  • In reading, there was a five point gain in students meeting or exceeding the state standards in grade 10. The gains in reading were minimal for grades 3-8. The statewide average in students meeting or exceeding the state standard rose by one percentage point.
  • In math, the percent of students who met or exceeded the state standards increased in all grades by an average of two percentage points.
  • In science, there was minimal change in the statewide average of students meeting or exceeding the state standard. Grades 5 and 8 decreased slightly and grade 10 gained two percentage points in the number of students meeting or exceeding the state standard.
  • In writing, the percent of students who met or exceeded the standard rose by two percentage points for grade 7 but held steady in grade 4 and declined two percentage points in grade 10.
“The Class of 2012 showed unprecedented gains in reading and solid gains in math and science,” Superintendent Susan Castillo said. “These gains indicate that more of our students are better prepared to meet the new rigorous Oregon diploma requirements, and this is excellent news. The class of 2012 will be the first required to prove proficiency in reading to graduate and they are stepping up to meet that challenge. We also saw gains in every grade for math which is encouraging as we work to implement Oregon’s new math standards and diploma requirements. However, the two point loss in tenth grade writing is very concerning as this is the next graduation requirement coming online in 2013.” 

“While these results are good news for our students and our state, we are not where we need to be to ensure every student is graduating with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. Our state’s lackluster performance in writing and science emphasize that there is a great deal of work left to be done,” said Castillo. 

2009-10 Oregon Assessment Results 
The percentage of students meeting/exceeding state standards on the 2009-10 state tests is shown below. Click 
here to access a table of assessment results by student subgroup or create a custom data table using the Oregon Department of Education’s website here. The results below are for All Students (aggregate data). 

Subject Grade % Met 2008-09 % Met 2009-10 Increase/ Decrease
Math 03 77 79 2
Math 04 77 79 2
Math 05 77 79 2
Math 06 73 74 1
Math 07 78 80 2
Math 08 71 72 1
Math 10 54 56 2
Math All 72 74 2
Reading 03 83 83 0
Reading 04 84 84 0
Reading 05 76 77 1
Reading 06 77 77 0
Reading 07 77 79 2
Reading 08 70 70 0
Reading 10 66 71 5
Reading All 76 77 1
Science 05 75 74 -1
Science 08 72 71 -1
Science 10 58 60 2
Science All 68 69 1
Writing 04 44 44 0
Writing 07 48 50 2
Writing 10 55 53 -2
Writing All 49 49 0
Please Note: Due to budget constraints last year, ODE continued the practice of using a single rater to score most 4th and 7th grade writing assessments (versus the two rater system that is employed at the high school level). This may impact the consistency in scoring to some extent but the writing tests still provide an accurate portrayal of student writing and are beneficial in informing instruction. 

The Achievement Gap Shrinking for Hispanics 
“Like all states in our nation, Oregon has struggled with an achievement gap that separates low income and minority students from their peers,” Castillo said. “I am pleased to see indications that the gap is continuing to shrink for Hispanic students. Hispanic achievement grew faster than that of white students in all subjects and grade levels this year. While their scores are still below those of many of their peers, the increased growth is a very promising sign that the achievement gap is narrowing for our Hispanic students.” 

“However, I am alarmed to see numerous drops in the performance of our African American and Native American students in elementary and middle school math, reading, science, and writing. In particular, the reading performance of these two groups declined in most grades with the exception of high school. We are systematically failing these children and this is completely unacceptable.” 

About Oregon’s unique testing system 
Under Oregon’s assessment system, reading and math tests are given at grades 3-8 and high school; writing tests are given at grades 4, 7, and high school. Last year, the state delivered over 1.6 million tests through ODE’s computer-based testing system, OAKS Online (OAKS = Oregon Assessment of Knowledge & Skills). The state-of-the-art testing system is one of three among the 50 states and has several advantages over other online assessments and old-style pencil-and-paper testing. Students take tests online, and each test is individually adapted to the student taking the test. Students have up to three opportunities to take required tests in reading and mathematics. A major benefit of OAKS Online is that students and teachers receive immediate, detailed feedback and reports when tests are completed. 

What’s next for Oregon students? 
Increased Graduation requirements: Oregon schools continue to implement increased graduation requirements in the core subjects including three years of math at Algebra I and above; four years of English, and three years of science. Students will also need to demonstrate proficiency in reading in 2012; reading and writing in 2013; and reading, writing, and math in 2014. Students will have multiple options and opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency in these essential skills by meeting state standards through OAKS; student work samples scored by trained teachers; or additional standardized assessments (such as the SAT and ACT). 


New Math Achievement Standards: In October, the State Board of Education will vote on the adoption of new achievement standards in math. New achievement standards are necessary to align our math test to the recently adopted math content standards. It is anticipated that the math achievement standard could go up for elementary and middle school. This potential change would better align Oregon’s math standards with national and international standards.

Change in Grade of Accountability: Starting in the 2010-11 school year, federal high school accountability (AYP) will be based on the number of students who pass state assessments by the end of their 11th grade year. Currently federal accountability is based on the number of students who pass tests by the end of their 10th grade year. High School students may still take state tests in 9th and 10th grade, but all 11th grade students who have not previously passed a state test must take that test at least once during their 11th grade year. This change is designed to provide students with more opportunities to receive the full breadth of instruction that is assessed at the high school level. 


Potential Adoption of National Standards: Also expected in October is a vote from the State Board of Education on the national standards currently being considered and adopted across the United States. To date, 37 states have adopted the common core state standards. On August 18th, a majority of the State Board members indicated that they were leaning in favor of adoption. Superintendent Susan Castillo has advocated for Oregon adoption of these national standards and is currently working to inform education partners and stakeholders about the potential benefits. The Oregon Department of Education is conducting a detailed analysis of how the national standards relate to Oregon’s standards. The results of this analysis will be presented to the State Board in October. 


OAKS test results (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) by school and district are online at:
http://www.ode.state.or.us/data/schoolanddistrict/testresults/reporting/pagrsurpressed.aspx 



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