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Susanne Smith, (503) 947-5637

January 7, 2010

Boards of Ed and Higher Ed meet with business leaders on aligning student learning and meeting Oregon’s work force needs

Joint Boards approve new policies to ease student transfer between K-12, community colleges and universities

PORTLAND, January 7, 2010 – For the first time ever, the Joint Boards of Education – made up of the Boards of Education and Higher Education – and the Oregon Business Council met as the “Tri-Board” to discuss improving student learning outcomes, and alignment with the needs of business and industry in Oregon. The Joint Boards furthered the alignment agenda by approving new policies that make it easier for students to move between education institutions and not lose credits and better prepare them for postsecondary education.

Chancellor of the Oregon University System, George Pernsteiner, said, “A frequent question we hear in higher education is, how do we know what students have learned during college, and are the skills they gain in higher education meeting the needs of business? Today’s meeting focused on the components of student learning and success, and how K-12 and higher education can partner with the business community to determine what students should be learning, and how to evaluate that learning, not just course by course, but as the cumulative result of a college experience.”

The Joint Boards this afternoon approved standardized credits for International Baccalaureate classes passed by high school students; approved statewide standards for General Education coursework to ease transferability; and approved clarification of the coursework included in the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree that a student can apply to completion of a university degree.

“Today marks an important step forward in our efforts to provide Oregon students with a more seamless path from PK-12 to higher education,” said State Superintendent of Schools Susan Castillo. “We must continue to create a student-focused system as we raise the rigor of education in Oregon. When students gain tangible benefits from completing programs like the International Baccalaureate, the demand in our high schools for rigorous study will increase. By collaborating to align our education system, we are more fully preparing the next generation of citizens for the challenges of a work environment that increasingly requires higher levels of skills and knowledge. I look forward to the continued collaboration of the Oregon Joint Boards of Education.”

Duncan Wyse, president of the Oregon Business Council and State Board of Education chair, said, “Today was an opportunity for a serious discussion between K-12, higher education and the business community as to what knowledge and skills students need once they enter the workforce, and how to evaluate what students have learned while in high school and college. The Tri-Board meeting was a great start in understanding how we can better align learning with the expectations of businesses and other employers, whose greatest assets are a highly skilled, nimble workforce with strong problem solving skills.”

Wyse, who is also the chair of the Board of Education, said, “Over the last several years, much progress has been made in aligning curriculum between K-12, community colleges, and the public universities in order to make the transitions between the sectors easier and more transparent for students.” The K-12 sector has worked diligently over the last few years to develop The Oregon Diploma standards, some of which will be implemented with the graduating class of 2012, and the remainder with the Class of 2014.

In July 2008, Oregon became one of three states participating in a new initiative sponsored by the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) and supported by the Carnegie and Lumina Foundations. Working with the California State University System and the University of Wisconsin System, OUS partners have been working to strengthen the quality of undergraduate student learning. Three institutions representing distinct regions of the state – Eastern Oregon University, Portland State University, and Southern Oregon University – received funding support for projects to expand the use of high impact teaching and learning practices and develop better tools for measuring, interpreting, applying, and reporting evidence of the impact those practices have on different student populations.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo and Oregon Department of Education provide statewide leadership for all elementary and secondary students in Oregon's public school districts and education service districts. Responsibility also extends to public preschool programs, the state School for the Deaf, regional programs for children with disabilities and education programs in Oregon youth corrections facilities. For more information go to: www.ode.state.or.us

Oregon University System comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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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