Oregon Department of Education

How Oregon Set Achievement Standards in 2006-2007

Boy raising hand The process for re-establishing the achievement standards on the statewide assessments in reading, mathematics, science and for the English Language Proficiency Assessments (ELPA) in 2006-07 consisted of three key phases.

Phase One - Establish a broadly representative panel for each grade and subject area
The Department of Education actively solicited more than 500 names of educators, parents and community/business representatives to serve on the panels at grades 3, 5, 8, and high school for reading and mathematics; grades 5, 8, and high school for science; and at grade groupings of K-1, 2-3, 4-5, 6-8, and high school for ELPA. Over 230 Oregonians, selected to represent the state by geographic region, district size, gender, race/ethnicity, and role in education or community, will review test materials and recommend "cut scores."

Panelists received training to help them understand the content standards and statewide assessment system. Parents and community/business representatives participated fully with educators on the panels. Participants were reimbursed for travel expenses and districts received a stipend to cover substitute teacher costs for panelists.

Phase Two - Process for determining "cut scores"
In December 2006, for example, the panelists used three tools in the process of recommending "cut scores" - an ordered item booklet, impact data, and predictable growth information.

All panelists reviewed a booklet in which test items were presented in order from easiest to most difficult for their grade level and subject area. This, along with three rounds of discussion and individual ballots, helped panelists develop consensus on recommended scores.

All panelists reviewed "impact data" as the group began to reach consensus on a recommended score. This data showed in which classifications students taking the tests today would fall and the percentages of students in each category.

Finally, during the standards setting meeting, Table Leaders across grade levels met to review the suggested "cut scores" and determined how to create a smooth progression from grade level to grade level. In this manner, a set of recommended standards was developed for all grades incorporating grades 4, 6, and 7, which ensured a more predictable growth expectation for students as they move from one grade to another.

Phase Three - Field Review and Public Input
Following the panel meetings, the Department prepared materials to explain the recommended achievement levels at each grade level and seek public input. These materials were widely distributed in three ways:
  1. in face-to-face public meetings held in seven sites around the state, for example, in January 2007, including video-conference hook-ups to additional sites;
  2. on the Oregon Department of Education web site using video and a survey process;
  3. through break-out sessions at various professional conferences and other community or business meetings.
The State Board of Education then reviews the recommended achievement standards at their regular scheduled meetings and receives regular reports on the feedback from the field review and public input prior to adopting the standards.

Video Video REAL Player
Watch a 9-minute video about the process Oregon used to develop the recommended Achievement Standards.

HandoutsSupporting Documents
View or print documents about setting the Achievement Standards