Oregon Department of Education
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4/11/2013 10:03:00 AM
Process to Adopt a New Assessment Aligned to the Common Core

As you know, Oregon has adopted the Common Core State Standards in Math and English Language Arts. These standards provide a consistent and rigorous set of learning expectations across the 46 states that have adopted them and will help prepare our students to compete nationally and internationally. Schools are now beginning to phase these new standards into instruction, with full implementation scheduled for the 2014-15 school year. Starting in 2015, we need to assess students based on these new standards.

Oregon law requires that the Department of Education be involved in the development of tests used in our state. In order to meet these requirements - and in order to ensure the resulting tests meet the needs of our students and schools - we chose to take an active role in the development of these common assessments. There are two major testing consortia - Smarter Balanced and PARCC. Oregon chose early on to join the Smarter Balanced consortium (as did many Western states) and we have served as a Governing State since the beginning of the consortium's development. By serving as a Governing State, we have had a prominent place at the table and have been able to help inform the direction of this work. This has been important to us as we want to make sure the resulting test is authentic, of high quality, and provides meaningful, timely, and relevant feedback on student learning.

However, no official action has yet been taken by the State Board of Education regarding adoption of a particular assessment system. As we near 2015, we still believe that there is time and flexibility to adopt a different assessment system if that is deemed superior for our students. We want to make sure that we are picking the assessment system that is the highest quality and that will best serve our students and our schools. We will be bringing together a committee of educators, education partners, State Board members, and parents in the coming weeks to do a review of the options currently available to us, including Smarter Balanced, PARCC, and any other relevant assessments. This workgroup will make a recommendation to the State Board of Education as to the assessment they feel will best meet the needs of our students, our schools, and our state.

Whatever assessment is chosen, it will cost our state significantly more than our current system. This is because the new systems will provide a more authentic assessment with more constructed response items and will include formative and interim systems in addition to the summative assessment, allowing for better integration and more meaningful feedback for our teachers. We believe this will be a worthwhile investment, but we also want to make sure we are getting the best possible system for our money. As we prepare to make a recommendation to the State Board for adoption of a new assessment aligned with the Common Core and make a request to the Legislature for the additional funding, we will be presenting the workgroup's recommendation on which of the testing models will best serve our students and schools.

I know that you are all anxious for a decision to be made as to which assessment we will be administering in 2015. Our goal, and our plan, is to conduct this review in a timely manner so that we can present recommendations to the State Board and the Legislature in the coming months. We will be starting this conversation with the State Board of Education at their April meeting. We will continue to share information and updates as they become available, and we welcome your feedback and input in this process. We hope to have a final announcement regarding our state's Common Core Assessment by the end of this school year.

If you have questions or concerns you would like to share about this process, please contact Assistant Superintendent for Assessment and Information Services Doug Kosty at Doug.Kosty@ode.state.or.us eMail.

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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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