The Common Core public education standards were devised by officials from 45 different states in 2011, replacing individual state appointed standards. Oregon schools have decided to adopt the Smarter Balanced test, one of two testing systems that will become the basis for public school assessment beginning in 2014. The new test aims to modernize the old multiple choice approach of state tests such as the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) test. The new assessment will test students on a variety of abilities and skills including multiple-step math problems that require students to show their work, and a more significant writing component that asks students to analyze multiple passages and synthesize them into an original piece of writing.
Though data on passing rates from last year’s pilot version of the test are yet to be published, anecdotal accounts from teachers, students and administrators in small cross-section of Oregon schools that administered the tests seem to agree: The new test is much more rigorous than anything they had seen previously. The new test will also raise the price of testing for Oregon schools from $13 per student to around $27 per student. Education advocacy groups have raised concerns regarding the length of the test for younger students and the test’s socio-economic fairness.
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OPB | April 16, 2015