Oregon Department of Education

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ASSESSMENT - Student Testing in Oregon

Welcome to the Assessment Unit

At the Oregon Department of Education, the assessment team works together to provide high quality measurement tools and testing support for Oregon schools. In the spirit of achieving a well-balanced system of statewide and local assessments, our unit regularly collaborates with Oregon teachers, test coordinators, and partner organizations to build educator assessment literacy and empower schools to use local performance assessments to measure student progress and improve student learning.

Tests come in ALL shapes and sizes
FORMATIVE ASSESSMENTS (assessments for learning) are processes applied during teaching and include tools a teacher may use to collect feedback about a student to help guide and improve that student's learning, such as observation, homework, and quizzes.

INTERIM OR BENCHMARK ASSESSMENTS provide mid-point or periodic evidence of performance and are used to identify gaps in student learning, evaluate programs, and predict success on summative tests.

SUMMATIVE ASSESSMENTS (assessments of learning) are given at the end of instruction to gather and report evidence of what was learned, evaluate student performance against specific content standards, and assign grades. These tests are designed to provide information regarding the level of student, school, or program success at an end point in time, and include end-of-unit and end-of-year state tests.

Understanding Student Assessment in Oregon

Assessments are an integral part of education in our state. At their most basic level, assessments are the tools we use to collect the information we need to make decisions in everyday life. Health professionals use instruments like thermometers and x-rays to monitor the health of their patients. Scientists collect and analyze water samples to determine the quality of our streams and lakes. In education, teachers and administrators use state tests, work samples, and other forms of assessments to measure how well students are learning and determine how best to support them moving forward.

Quality assessments provide results that are used to inform a broad range of decisions at the classroom, district, and state levels:
  • Teachers use formative and interim assessments in the classroom to identify gaps in student learning and adjust instruction;
  • Students and their parents use formative, interim, and summative assessments to check mastery of key learning targets;
  • State and local leaders use summative assessment results to make important policy decisions, like where and how to invest in Oregon schools and how to hold schools accountable for the outcomes of those investments.

boy and teacher at computer

Oregon's Statewide Assessment System

Oregon's statewide assessment system is called the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS), and includes tests administered annually by subject matter and grade. treeOregon public schools test students in English language arts and math in grades 3 through 8 and 11, and in science and social sciences in grades 5, 8, and 11. Additional assessments include the English Language Proficiency Assessment (ELPA) for our English learners (Els) and the Extended Assessment for our students with special needs. During the 2014-15 school year, we replaced our previous state tests in reading, writing, and math with the new Smarter Balanced assessments in English language arts and math. We also field tested ELPA21, a new assessment for our English language learners that is aligned to our current state standards; ELPA21 will be the operational assessment for English learners beginning in 2015-16. In addition to state tests, schools administer local performance assessments to give students feedback on their learning and academic progress, as well as provide opportunities for students in select grades to take national assessments like the NAEP and PSAT.

Click on an assessment option below to learn more about each test. Click the graphic for a visual representation of our Statewide Assessment System.

Student Centered Assessment Project

The Student-Centered Assessment project is focused on strengthening professional learning in order to improve the use of assessment results for increasing student achievement.

Student Centered Assessment Logo

Graduation in Oregon

The following Essential Skills, or cross-disciplinary skills necessary for success in college and career, are a part of the Oregon Diploma:
  1. Read and comprehend a variety of text
  2. Write clearly and accurately
  3. Apply mathematics in a variety of settings
Students may use a variety of assessment options to demonstrate mastery of these Essential Skills and complete graduation requirements. Click the button below to learn more.

Communication Resources for Parents and Educators

At ODE, we are committed to informing parents and students about important changes to Oregon's statewide testing system. Click each button for resources specific to one of our tests.

Assessment Networks

Two key networks of professionals help the Oregon Department of Education make Oregon’s assessment efforts a success: District Test Coordinators (DTCs) and regional Education Service District (ESD) Assessment Support Partners. District Test Coordinators play a key role in administering assessments, coordinating test administration, reporting test results to the Oregon Department of Education, and tracking student progress. Regional ESD Assessment Support Partners support school and district personnel by staffing help desks and providing direct services as needed.

To help keep everyone current with developments in the assessment system, ODE publishes the Assessment and Accountability Update every Thursday. These brief newsletters are delivered to all DTCs and to others by subscription. Please see below for additional assessment resources for school/district personnel.

Communication Resources for Educators and Test Administrators


  • Steve Slater Email    (503) 947-5826
    Accountability - Education Program Specialist
  • Holly Carter Email    (503) 947-5739
    Assessment - Ops & Policy Analyst
  • Cristen McLean Email    (503) 947-5842
    Assessment - Operations Policy Analyst
  • Bryan Toller Email    (503) 947-5832
    Assessment - Specialist, Mathematics
  • Michelle McCoy Email    (503) 947-5829
    Assessment - Education Program Specialist
  • Bradley J. Lenhardt Email    (503) 947-5755
    Education Programs & Assessment - Alternate Assessment Specialist
  • Beth LaDuca Email    (503) 947-5836
    Research and Data Analysis - NAEP State Coordinator
  • Holly Dalton Email    (503) 947-5927
    Assessment - Education Program Specialist 2
  • Jonathan Wiens Email    (503) 947-5764
    Accountability - Manager
  • Josh Rew Email    (503) 947-5845
    Accountability - Education Program Specialist