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Crystal Greene, 503-947-5650

August 29, 2011

2010-11 Test Results for Reading, Math, Science, and Writing

Students Rise to the Challenge of New Math Standards; More High School Students on Track to Graduate College and Career Ready

SALEM – Oregon State Schools Superintendent Susan Castillo today announced the results of student performance on the 2010-11 state assessments in reading, mathematics, writing, and science. Student performance increased or held steady in reading, science, and writing at every grade except 4th grade writing (which dropped 3 points), and students made impressive progress toward meeting Oregon’s new, more rigorous, math expectations.

“I am very proud of the gains Oregon students made this year” said Superintendent of Public Instruction Susan Castillo. “Today’s results show us that even in these tough economic times, our schools are helping increasing numbers of students meet state standards and prepare for their futures. This year, we saw gains in reading at all levels and good growth in middle and high school writing. But the most exciting results were from math, as we ask more of our students than ever before. This past year, we raised the bar in elementary and middle school math, asking our students to demonstrate a higher level of mastery in order to meet state standards. We did this to ensure our students would enter high school with the skills needed to succeed and graduate college and career ready. We believed that our students were capable of achieving at these higher levels, and today’s results clearly demonstrate that they are. We are seeing our students rise to the challenge of these higher math expectations with increased student learning at all grades. However, when you increase the rigor, the percent of students meeting standard generally goes down, and we are seeing that in this year’s results. Not all students will get over this higher bar the first year. But today’s results clearly indicate that our students are on the right track. If we provide our students with high-quality instruction, rigorous expectations, and strong instructional supports, they can and will achieve at high levels.”

2010-11 Results at a Glance
  • In reading, the percent of high school students meeting or exceeding the state standard increased by 12 points. Elementary and middle school growth was more modest with one and two point gains.
  • In math, results were mixed. The percent of high school students meeting or exceeding the state standard increased by 12 points. Student learning increased dramatically in elementary and middle school, but the percent of students meeting standard was down due to the change in math expectations that went into effect last year.
  • In science, there was a 10 point increase in the percent of high school students meeting or exceeding the state standards. Science results were flat in grades 5 and 8.
  • In writing, the percent of high school students who met or exceeded the standard increased by 15 points. The percent of 7th graders meeting or exceeding standard increased by 2 points but the percent of 4th graders meeting or exceeding dropped 3 points from last year.
Raising the Bar: the Impact of Increased Math Expectations
In October 2010, the Oregon State Board of Education adopted higher expectations for elementary and middle school students in math. This change aligned Oregon’s math standards with rigorous national and international expectations and provided students, parents, and teachers with better information about how prepared students are to meet Oregon’s high school diploma requirements. As predicted, the increase in the math achievement standards resulted in fewer students meeting benchmark this year. However, when we look at the percent of 2009-10 students who would have met state standards under the 2010-11 expectations, the growth in student learning is evident. Results below are for grades 3-8. High school achievement standards did not change this past year and are therefore not included in this comparison.

Grade 2009-10 Results on 2009-10 Achievement Standards 2009-10 Results on 2010-11 Achievement Standards 2010-11 Results on 2010-11 Achievement Standards Gains Comparing 2009-10 and 2010-11 results on 2010-11 Achievement Standards
79%47%63% 16%
79% 46% 65% 19%
79% 45% 58% 13%
74% 46% 59% 13%
80% 51% 61% 10%
72% 53% 65% 12%

Student performance in math was much stronger in 2010-11 than in 2009-10. Students are demonstrating higher levels of mastery in elementary and middle school math and rising to the challenge of increased expectations. The gains above (comparing both years on the 2010-11 standards) are one way of viewing this increase in student learning. Another method is to look at the increase in average student scores. For the past several years, the average student score in math increased about one third of a point each year in elementary school and less than half of a point each year in middle school. This past year, the average elementary students’ math score increased by 2.7 points (about eight times higher than the average for the past several years) and middle school students’ scores increased by 1.3 points (about three times higher than the past average score).

Graduating Ready for College and Career: Change in Accountability Year and the Essential Skills
Over the past several years, Oregon has adopted more rigorous graduation expectations to ensure students graduate ready for college and career. An important part of these new requirements are the proficiency-based Essential Skills, which ask students to demonstrate their mastery of reading, writing, and math in order to receive a diploma. Students have a variety of ways to demonstrate this proficiency, but one of the primary methods is through passing state tests in these key areas.

In the past, federal accountability was based on the percent of students who met state standards by the end of their 10th grade year. And while students could still take the tests in the 11th or 12th grades, all students had to take the tests at least once by the end of 10th grade. However, since these are high school tests, based on high school content, 10th graders may not have received instruction in all of the relevant information by the time testing occurs. In order to give students adequate time to receive instruction on the full breadth of the high school material prior to the test, ODE received approval to move the year of federal accountability from the 10th grade to the 11th grade. This year’s results are the first to reflect this change in testing.

“This change in accountability year certainly contributed to the increases we saw in high school performance this year,” said Superintendent Castillo. “However, it is likely that other factors like increased motivation and the approaching Essential Skills requirements also contributed to these increases. It is good to see more of our students demonstrating their proficiency in these critical skills. This year’s results give us better information than ever before about how many of our students will be prepared to meet the Essential Skills of reading, writing, and math which will be required for the graduates of 2012, 2013, and 2014 respectively. But it also reminds us of the work that is still to be done. Based on this year’s results, 17% of our high school students are not meeting standard in reading, 32% are not meeting standard in writing, and 32% not meeting standard in math. We need to keep focused on this work and provide each and every student with the support needed to graduate college and career ready.”

2010-11 Oregon Assessment Results
The percentage of students meeting/exceeding state standards on the 2010-11 state tests is shown below. Click here Excel Spreadsheet to access a table of assessment results by student subgroup or create a custom data table using the Oregon Department of Education’s website. The results below are for All Students (aggregate data).

Subject Grade % Met 2009-10 % Met 2010-11 Increase/Decrease
037963 -16
04 79 65 -14
05 79 58 -21
06 74 59 -15
07 80 61 -19
08 72 65 -7
HS 56 68 12
All 74 63 -11
038383 0
04 84 85 1
05 77 78 1
06 77 79 2
07 79 80 1
08 70 72 2
HS 71 83 12
All 77 80 3
05 74 74 0
08 71 71 0
HS 60 70 10
All 69 72 3
04 44 41 -3
07 50 52 2
HS 53 68 15
All 49 53 4

Results by school and district are online at: http://www.ode.state.or.us/data/schoolanddistrict/testresults/reporting/pagrsurpressed.aspx.

About Oregon’s Testing System
Under Oregon’s assessment system, state reading and math tests are given at grades 3-8 and high school. Historically, writing tests have been given at grades 4, 7, and high school. However, due to budget constraints, the Oregon State Legislature has suspended the 4th and 7th grade writing tests for the current biennium, and next year students will only take a state writing test in the 11th grade. State science tests are taken in grades 5, 8, and high school.

Last year, the state delivered over 1.6 million tests through ODE’s computer-based testing system, OAKS Online (OAKS = Oregon Assessment of Knowledge & Skills). Oregon is a national leader in online testing, which provides students and teachers with immediate, detailed feedback on student performance. In addition, Oregon’s online testing system is adaptive, meaning that each student’s test is unique and adapts to the level of difficulty most appropriate for that student. Students have up to three opportunities to take required tests in reading and mathematics each year. A state led effort called Direct Access to Achievement (the DATA Project) helps schools to use the data from these standardized tests to better meet students’ needs and increase student achievement.

Changes for Next Year
There are several significant changes to state testing that will take effect in the 2011-12 school year. The first is the limiting of writing tests to only one opportunity in the 11th grade year. Students will still have the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in writing, but districts will need to rely more heavily on local performance assessments (work samples) for students who do not meet the standard via OAKS. The second change is the increase in reading achievement standards, adopted by the State Board of Education in the spring of 2011, which goes into effect this coming fall. It is anticipated that the increased expectations in reading will result in an initial drop in the percent of students meeting standard, as was seen in this year’s math results. As with the increased expectations in math, the higher bar for elementary and middle school students in reading will provide better information about how prepared students are to meet high school requirements. The new reading standards are aligned to national and international expectations and will help to prepare students for the recently adopted Common Core State Standards. In addition, the State Board of Education will be reviewing new achievement standards for science this fall and, if adopted, these new achievement standards would go into effect for the 2011-12 school year.

Move to the Common Core
This past year, the State Board of Education adopted Common Core State Standards—rigorous, national learning expectations aligned with international standards. These common standards will provide a level playing field across the country and will prepare Oregon students to compete not just here in Oregon but nationally and internationally as well. Oregon is one of more than 45 states to adopt these standards. Over the coming years, we will be phasing them into classroom instruction. Oregon is also helping to lead the work in the development of national assessments designed to test students on these new standards. Assessment of the Common Core is scheduled to occur starting in spring of 2015.

For an audio clip of Superintendent Susan Castillo, go to: http://video.orvsd.org/ode/110824-Asmt-Rel.MP3

For an FAQ on Assessment Results, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/wma/superintendent/release/2010-11-assessment-results-faq.pdf PDF

For Assessment Results by district and school, go to: http://www.ode.state.or.us/data/schoolanddistrict/testresults/reporting/pagrsurpressed.aspx.

Susan Castillo, State Superintendent of Public Instruction
Crystal Greene, Acting 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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