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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

September 2, 2010

Oregon Part of Consortium Awarded RTTT Assessment Grant

The SMARTER Balanced Consortium is awarded $160 million to develop a student assessment system aligned with the common core academic standards

SALEM —State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo announced today that the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), of which Oregon is a governing member, was one of two consortia awarded a four year Race to the Top Assessment Grant from the US Department of Education. The grant awards SBAC $160 million to develop a student assessment system aligned with the common core state standards.

“I am excited to be partnering with states from around the country on this historic effort,” said Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “While Oregon has long been considered a national leader in the area of assessment, we know that a true 21st century assessment system can do more to support and inform instruction, engage students in learning, and provide meaningful data on student achievement and growth. This opportunity will help take our assessment system to the next level.”

“I wish to thank Secretary Duncan for recognizing the excellent work of the state Department of Education and teachers across the state,” said Governor Ted Kulongoski. “This work provides the foundation that this new grant will build upon.”

The assessment system to be developed by SBAC is tied to the Common Core Standards, an initiative led by the Council of Chief State School Officers and the National Governors Association to create a consistent and clear set of learning standards for K-12 in English language arts and mathematics that all states can use. The Oregon State Board of Education has expressed a leaning toward adopting the Common Core Standards at their October meeting.

“This grant is an unprecedented opportunity for Oregon to help design a next-generation assessment system that provides more services and supports to our students and teachers,” said Tony Alpert, ODE Assessment and Accountability Director and SBAC co-chair. “This is a natural continuation of the work already underway in Oregon and builds on our current assessment system and the work of the Oregon DATA Project. By partnering with other states, we will be able to leverage resources, share expertise, and produce a system that will meet the needs and expectations of Oregon students and teachers.”

The SBAC tests will measure the full range of the common core standards in grades 3-8 and 11, including assessing problem solving and complex thinking skills. Teachers in participating states will be involved at all stages of item and test development, including writing, scoring, and the design of reporting systems. Educators will also be able to access a reporting system that identifies each student’s strengths, weakness, and progress toward college and career readiness. SBAC will create state-of-the-art adaptive online exams, using “open source” technology. The online system will provide accurate assessment information to teachers and others on the progress of all students, including those with disabilities, English language learners and low- and high-performing students. The system will include:
  1. the required summative exams (offered twice each school year);
  2. optional formative, or benchmark, exams; and
  3. a variety of tools, processes and practices for teachers to use in planning and implementing informal, ongoing assessment. This will assist teachers in understanding what students are and are not learning on a daily basis so they can adjust instruction accordingly.
SBAC’s goal – to ensure that all students leaving high school are college and career ready – will be achieved with the high-quality assessment system to be created by the consortium. The system will include rigorous, internationally benchmarked tests that report on how each student has been progressing toward and is currently performing on a pathway to career and college readiness.

Learn more about the SMARTER Balanced Assessment Consortium at http://www.k12.wa.us/SMARTER.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Susanne Smith, Communications Director, Telephone (503) 947-5637

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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Salem, OR 97310-0203

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