Oregon's new test results are in and they're better than expected

College & Career Readiness, Current Events & News | 07/02/2015

Kelsey Cardwell Marketing & Communications Director

Kelsey oversees Oregon's marketing and communications.

We now have a test that tells a clearer story of how Oregon children are doing in school. Today, we learned how students performed on the new, smarter statewide exam that measures progress toward more rigorous standards and critical thinking skills.

The standards were set higher, but our students "smashed expectations." This shows that when we raise the bar and do our part to help our children get there, they will rise to the challenge.

The results for high school students were underwhelming in math, telling us what we already know: Oregon sends far too many high school graduates off to college unprepared in that subject. But with this test, we will know much sooner when our children are not on track and need extra support.

What additional resources do you think Oregon high schools need? Help us paint a clearer picture of what’s happening in our high schools by commenting on this blog post.

Our goal as a state is to ensure Oregon kids can compete with any kids across the country. This new assessment – while imperfect – is a critical tool to help us get there. It provides a baseline of student achievement and shows us that we clearly have a lot of work to do at the high school level.

We started that work by advocating that more high school student have access to a full schedule, but we have more work to do.

Too many Oregon college students spend precious time and money on instruction we should have given them in high school. Now that we have better information on how students are doing, we can work to prevent that from happening..

Share your stories in the comments below, because while these tests tell the truth, they don’t tell the whole story.

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  • Thanks to all the teachers and principals who worked so hard to make this a success. My daughter's math and English classes are so much better under Common Core, and I know she is getting a better education.
    Joy Marshall

    July 2, 2015 5:28 PM

  • Thanks Stand On Children. My son has such a busy schedule now because of you, he doesn't have time for lunch, the bathroom, or water. And I'm sure I'll get over him not having time to eat dinner with his family soon. Bravo!
    JIll MacCartney

    July 2, 2015 6:02 PM

  • 2000 students in the high school! How many teachers in the large classrooms? How much time per student is there for help? What if a student doesn't understand the lecture material - how much time does that teacher have to explain and help that student?.... About 3 mins Max!! What if the student still doesn't understand ? .... S.O.L! Hope they can figure it out! The teen feels like a failure and returns the next day not have done the homework ( can't understand it) only to snowball in failure and feeling ever lost ! By the time the teacher notices the teen has a F in the class and the Smarter balance Exam is next week! That is what is happening at the largest High School in Oregon! That is what happened to my son and many of his classmates! What's the answer? Smaller class sizes and more time for each classmate! Raising the bar is a bad idea if the teaching intervention is not also raised! Instructional time - both class wide & individual !
    Julie Sweet

    July 2, 2015 7:02 PM

  • We will see greater gains in student learning if you will shift your advocacy focus towards improving student learning outcomes rather than ensuring we have more of what we currently have, such as ensuring all students have a "full schedule". By increasing funding (for high schools) to reduce the existing class sizes, which are traditionally larger than K-8, and providing professional development to teachers to assist in the transition to common core and smarter balanced assessment, the result will be improved student learning. These improvements will result in student centered instruction that prepares students for college and career and smaller class sizes provide teachers a greater ability to connect with students in a timely fashion.
    Mindy LeRoux

    July 3, 2015 5:41 AM

  • Children regardless of age need more educator to class size ratios. We used to have teacher assistants to help increase the likelihood of catching those students struggling earlier to better prepare for testing comprehension of subject material. The answer isn't to keep cramming children regardless of age into a classroom with minimal educators on hand. I personally see how disconnected children get when he or she feels lost in a subject matter they don't understand. Disconnected children regardless of age are discouraged children. Teenagers use the skills they used when younger to try and cope with learning unfamiliar material. It isn't a pretty sight to see a disconnected teenager be a discouraged individual feeling hopelessly lost in demonstrating mastery of unfamiliar material.
    Eileen Ordway

    July 3, 2015 6:45 AM

  • I applaud the efforts of our many talented teachers in getting the results they have on the SBAC. I am disappointed that Stand is advocating for the Common Core when so many pieces of it are so misguided. Such as 12 hours of mandatory SBAC testing for high school juniors, who, if college-bound, we hope are taking SAT, ACT, and/or AP tests. Such as "explain your thinking" for math using English when showing your work mathematically *is* explaining your thinking. Many teachers I admire and respect tell me privately that this is a huge waste of time and prejudicial to their ELL, Title I, and/or learning disabled students. It staggers me that we are paying for a new curriculum and hand grading when kids only get one shot at the test and feedback doesn't even come until school is out. As an ELL/Title I math tutor for several years, I feel the Common Core math does not emphasize the core skills the kids need, namely reasoning and calculating using the mathematical language. There is some helpfulness in the CC method for kids with difficulty decoding word problems. Mathematically talented kids do *not* need to justify themselves at such a basic level. Maybe once or twice. They need to work on above-grade problems and lots of them. I felt that the OAKS was adequate and fair. Kids got immediate feedback and teachers could give the kids that didn't pass extra work on specific skills to give them another chance to pass. Our school district has become even stricter towards math acceleration because they are afraid of kids not being able to take the Common Core for their grade if they are working above level. We fail to inform parents that the student can "target up" and take the test for the grade level they are working in. A significant percentage of kids are capable of above-grade math work but I guess not this year. I would like to see Stand going forward supporting real class size reduction (not a task force, let's save the money). We should be supporting our many talented teachers and identifying the few ineffective ones. Stand should also support a living minimum wage to help lift our many low-income families out of poverty ( the biggest determinant of school success).
    Celia Baculi

    July 3, 2015 7:08 AM

  • Oregon needs to set outcome-based goals for education, and then fund K-12 schools based on the outcomes they desire. There is a lot of wisdom here: http://portlandtribune.com/cr/28-opinion/263898-136710-a-turning-point-for-oregon-schools
    Leslie Robinette

    July 3, 2015 1:37 PM

  • We must get away from the one size fits all mode of teaching. Start with personalized instruction that is geared to the child's level and needs. Direct them towards reaching their potential by demanding they complete a certain amount of effort each day, based on their personal levels, interests, and potentials. Move away from standardized testing like in Smarter Balanced and even OAKS. The results of these tests don't get directly back to the child who took the test. Rely on formative tests directed by the teacher and directly applied to the student. If a teacher uses the Personal Education Plan offered in www.personalassisedlearning.info, students will attain 4 to 10 times the current results in our schools.
    Neil Stafford

    July 3, 2015 2:57 PM