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Alignment of Standards


P-16 Education in Oregon


700 Broadway, Suite 1200 Denver, CO 80203-3460 303.299.3600 Fax: 303.296.8332 www.ecs.org

Alignment of Standards

By Arika Long
August 2004

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Introduction

A growing number of states are examining how they can do a better job of connecting the various levels of their education system - early learning, K-12 and postsecondary. Driving these efforts are new challenges and pressures, including changes in the economy and workplace, demographic shifts, and advances in technology and telecommunications. There is also widespread and growing concern over the enormous number of young people who move from one level of the system to the next without the knowledge and skills they need to succeed at that level. Creating a more integrated, seamless education system involves addressing many complex issues, including standards, assessment, teacher education, college admissions policies, governance, funding streams and institutional turf issues. Over the past decade, states have begun to move away from dealing with such issues on a piecemeal basis toward a more comprehensive approach known as "P-16." This term reflects the vision of a coherent, flexible system of public education that stretches from preschool through postsecondary.

The following topical policy brief is from the second phase of a statewide P-16 analysis on the state of Oregon completed by ECS. The first phase of the analysis is a broad policy brief called Oregon State Policies Aligned to the ECS P-16 Policy Framework. The brief presented a compilation of Oregon education policies and statewide programs organized under the ECS P-16 framework described in What Is P-16 Education: A Primer for Legislators, A Practical Introduction to the Concept, Language and Policy Issues of an Integrated System of Public Education (ECS, 2001), which designates specific policy goals and recommendations for each level of education - early learning, K-12, and postsecondary. The policy brief compiled relevant Oregon policies within each goal of the P-16 framework to showcase Oregon's current policy system through the P-16 lens.

The second phase of the analysis includes six topical briefs focused on issues determined by the Oregon State Board of Education as priority topics: early learning, aligning standards, high school as a key transition, articulation and transfer, postsecondary access and affordability, and P-16 finance. These briefs include Oregon-specific information about each topic, including: current Oregon policies related to the topic; relevant performance data for Oregon; examples from other states and policy questions; and issues to consider as Oregon determines the next steps for their P-16 priority topics. The recommenda-tions and policy questions are intended as starting points for discussion and deliberation among Oregon's education policy stakeholders. While each brief is a stand-alone document on a specific topic related to P-16 education, when taken together the briefs represent a broad, cross-cutting series on P-16 education issues in Oregon. As such, specific policies and performance data may appear in multiple briefs.

Data Sources and Methodology

ECS used a variety of sources to obtain the data and information reported in this document, including staff in several departments and agencies within the state of Oregon as well as a number of national education policy organizations and research reports. This document presents a sample of the available data on Oregon performance related to alignment of standards; it is by no means an exhaustive representation of Oregon's efforts. Many additional data sources exist and are worth examining.

Alignment of Standards

From the development of the "Oregon Plan for Excellence," which contained the seeds for the development of the Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century, to leadership roles in the National Goals 2000 movement and the development of statewide educational standards and assessments, many believe that Oregon is a model for other states in implementing P-16 standards. The Oregon Educational Act for the 21st Century (1991, revised 1995), created a comprehensive system of academic standards and assessments benchmarked at grades 3, 5, 8 and 10, including the innovative Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM) and Certificate of Advanced Mastery (CAM). As stated in "The First Year: Student Performance on 10th Grade Benchmark Standards and Subsequent Performance in the First Year of College (2001-02)," Oregon is now in the second decade of work on the design and implementation of a standards-based system that connects student performance from early learning through postsecondary.

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