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Jake Weigler, (503) 947-5650

August 31, 2009

2008-09 Test Results for Reading, Writing, Math and Science

SALEM – Oregon Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo today announced the results of student performance on the 2008-09 annual state assessment tests in reading, mathematics, writing, and science.

In reading, a higher percentage of students met or exceeded the state standards in grades 4-10. However, there was a decline in the percent of students who met or exceeded the 3rd grade standards in reading. In math, the percent of students who met or exceeded the math standards increased in both middle and high school. There was no change in the percent of students who met or exceeded the standards in the elementary grades. In science, there was no change in the percent of elementary students who met or exceeded the standards. However, the percent rose for middle and high school science results. In writing, the percent of students who met the standard declined in 7th and 10th grade, but rose for those in 4th grade.*

“I am encouraged by the continued gains Oregon students are making in the core subject areas,” Superintendent Susan Castillo said. “In particular, the substantial improvement in academic achievement by our middle school students shows us that focused math and reading instruction, when combined with targeted interventions for students who need them, are beginning to pay off. I encourage our educators to continue to use the state assessments as an opportunity to individualize their instruction based on student need.

“Our schools are asking more of our students than ever before, and our students are responding. But we still have a long way to go before all of our students are on track to graduate from high school with the skills necessary for life and work in the 21st century. I am excited by the increases in student achievement but we must not lose sight of the fact that more students need to be able to meet state standards. We need to keep focused on ensuring that all students have the knowledge and skills to pursue their hopes and dreams.

“I am also keenly aware of the painful budget decisions that many of our local school districts have had to make. In these difficult economic times it will take an extraordinary effort to continue to make gains in student achievement, but I am confident that we can continue to make progress; the schoolchildren of Oregon deserve the best education we can give them. The commitment of Oregon teachers, administrators and classified staff continues to amaze me and I am humbled to see the sacrifices that are made for Oregon’s students as our schools tighten their belts.

“At the Department of Education we also need to do our part to help schools increase achievement by continuing to improve our assessment tools and providing the best data and information about student performance. We need to provide our middle and high school teachers with the support, tools, and strategies they need to help our students continue to make gains as we begin to implement Oregon’s new high school diploma requirements," said Castillo.

The percentage of students meeting/exceeding state standards on the 2008-09 state assessment tests is shown below:

Reading (multiple-choice)
3rd Grade 83% (down from 84% in 07-08)
4th Grade 84% (up from 83% in 07-08)
5th Grade 76% (up from 75% in 07-08)
6th Grade 77% (up from 73% in 07-08)
7th Grade 77% (up from 74% in 07-08)
8th Grade 70% (up from 65% in 07-08)
10th Grade 66% (up from 65% in 07-08)

Math (multiple-choice)
3rd Grade 77% (no change from 07-08)
4th Grade 77% (no change from 07-08)
5th Grade 77% (no change from 07-08)
6th Grade 73% (up from 70% in 07-08)
7th Grade 78% (up from 74% in 07-08)
8th Grade 71% (up from 69% in 07-08)
10th Grade 54% (up from 52% in 07-08)

Science (multiple-choice)
5th Grade 75% (no change from 07-08)
8th Grade 72% (up from 69% in 07-08)
10th Grade 58% (up from 57% in 07-08)

Writing (writing sample)
4th Grade 44% (up from 43% in 07-08)
7th Grade 48% (down from 49% in 07-08)
10th Grade 55% (down from 56% in 07-08)

“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. “This year, I was pleased to see indications that the gap is shrinking, especially at the middle school level. In both math and reading, Hispanic achievement grew faster than that of white students in all but one grade. 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 beginning to shrink in some areas.”

In 2008-2009, 56% of Oregon Hispanic students met or exceeded state standards in math, up from 54% in the 2007-2008 school year. The number of Hispanic students that met or exceeded reading state standards rose to 57% in 2008-2009 from 54% in 2007-2008. Click here Excel Spreadsheetto access a table of state averages for different student populations for reading and math. One can also create a custom data table using the Oregon Department of Education’s website here.

* OAKS test results (Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills) by school and district are online here.

Under Oregon’s assessment system, reading and math tests are given at grades 3-8 and at grade 10; writing tests are given at grades 4, 7, and 10. Last year, the state delivered over 1.47 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 unique 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.

Please note that due to budget constraints last year, most 4th and 7th grade writing assessments were only scored using one rater (versus the two rater system that is generally employed). This may affect comparability to last year’s assessments. The writing tests still provide an accurate portrayal of student writing and will be beneficial in informing instruction. For more information this change, one can access the Department’s Numbered Memo on the subject here.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Jake Weigler, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5650

Oregon Department of Education News Releases contain information that was originally released to the press as an official release.  Refer to each News Release for the details.

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255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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