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Oregon Tweaks Test Scores Required For Diploma

The same day Oregon released school results for statewide exams, the State Board of Education adjusted minimum passing scores for graduation, in light of new state exams that juniors take.

The new Smarter Balanced exams are tougher than Oregon's old state tests, and are pegged to what officials call "college and career ready" standards. That's a higher standard than what state policy makers have set for graduation.

For that reason, the State Board of Education has lowered the minimum required test score for 11th grade math and reading below what's considered "college-ready." Instead, they're generally in line with what was required under the old state exams.

State officials say about 81 percent of juniors hit the new minimum reading score, compared with just 67 percent scoring as "college ready." On math, 57 percent of 11th graders scored well enough to meet the graduation requirement, but only about 30 percent tested as "college ready."

Juniors who fell short last spring can use the SAT, ACT, or a locally-scored assessment to meet the skill requirement.

The Oregon Department of Education issued the following statement from Deputy Superintendent Salam Noor:

“Today’s action by the State Board of Education maintains consistency in Oregon’s high school graduation requirements. The move to new assessments should not negatively impact graduation requirements because the state is holding constant the expectations for earning a diploma. This is not only the fair thing to do for students but it is also what is required under state law."

“We have higher standards in our state designed to better prepare students for their futures, and the results of our new statewide assessments provide more accurate information about where students are on their path to college and career readiness. This is valuable information that will help us better support students and address learning gaps early so they can graduate prepared for future success.”

Editor's Note: This story has been changed to clarify the State Board of Education's action on September 17.

<p>Riverside High School in Boardman is more than 80 percent Latino. It's one of more than forty high schools in the Eastern Promise program.</p>
<p>Rob Manning</p> /
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<p>Riverside High School in Boardman is more than 80 percent Latino. It's one of more than forty high schools in the Eastern Promise program.</p>
<p>Lincoln is downtown Portland's high school, with a student body of more than 1600 students.</p>
<p>Rob Manning</p> /
/
<p>Lincoln is downtown Portland's high school, with a student body of more than 1600 students.</p>

Copyright 2015 Oregon Public Broadcasting