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Morgan Allen, (503) 947-5920

August 28, 2009

State Board of Education Adopts Changes to Graduation Proficiency Requirements

SALEM – The Oregon State Board of Education adjusted the timeline for requiring demonstration of proficiency in the Essential Skill of Writing until the graduating class of 2013 (students in 9th grade in 2009-10). The State Board also voted to phase in the Essential Skill of Speaking at a later date.

Today the State Board adopted temporary rule OAR 581-022-0615: Assessment of Essential Skills MS-Word, which formalizes the timeline for proficiency in each required Essential Skill.

The Essential Skill proficiency requirements are now as follows:
  • For the graduating class of 2012 and beyond (students in 10th grade in 2009-10):
    Read and comprehend a variety of text

  • For the graduating class of 2013 and beyond (students in 9th grade in 2009-10):
    Read and comprehend a variety of text
    Write clearly and accurately

  • For the graduating class of 2014 and beyond (students in 8th grade in 2009-10):
    Read and comprehend a variety of text
    Write clearly and accurately
    Apply mathematics in a variety of settings

Based on the State Board’s June 2009 decision, the current schedule for diploma credit requirements PDF will remain unchanged.

The State Board stressed that this change only impacts the Essential Skill proficiency requirement for high school graduation. School districts will still be required to provide instruction, administer state assessments, and document student performance. Districts will continue to administer OAKS and local performance assessments (e.g. work samples) in grades 3-8 and high school to prepare students for the Essential Skills graduation requirement. The only point of delay is the demonstration of proficiency as a graduation requirement.

"At the heart of Oregon’s new graduation requirements are Essential Skills,” said Superintendent Castillo. “We know that success in life after high school means our students must be proficient in the core subjects like math and reading. With these diploma requirements, they will demonstrate what they have learned in order to graduate. While current economic conditions in our state have necessitated a longer implementation timeline for some of these Essential Skills, our schools are still working hard to implement this critical component of the Oregon high school diploma. I am proud of the tireless efforts of educators across the state in helping to shape this work.”

“The State Board is committed to increasing the rigor and relevance of education in Oregon. We know from business, community, and higher education leaders that our graduates need higher levels of these essential life and job skills to succeed after high school. However, we also know that our schools are faced with incredible challenges right now. The revisions to the timeline will allow districts to focus their resources and provide the targeted support that students will need,” said State Board Chair Duncan Wyse.

The State Board of Education expressed a commitment to pursuing student incentives for mastering all three of the Essential Skills such as community college placement waivers, scholarships, or tuition reductions.

Starting in 2012, the State Board also intends to require Essential Skills information in student transcripts. Transcripts will likely include a description of whether students have demonstrated their proficiency in the Essential Skills of Reading, Writing, and Apply Mathematics using options adopted by the State Board (i.e. the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS), work samples scored using state scoring guides, or approved additional standardized tests). State Board actions on these reporting requirements are expected this fall.

The State Board’s decisions both in June and this week were based in part on recommendations from the Diploma Timeline Work Group, a State Board subcommittee convened to look at district resources issues.

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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Oregon Department of Education
Voice: 503-947-5600
Fax: 503-378-5156
255 Capitol Street NE
Salem, OR 97310-0203

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