Category Archives: Oregon Education

History of the SBAC and How it Rose to a Nationwide Movement

The Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) was created in 2010 with the aim of producing a universal assessment system to help students be well prepared for college and careers. The creation of the tests aimed to produce a vigorous assessment of the new, challenging common core state standards (CCSS) and help educators and school districts align teaching to these new standards. The SBAC originally consisted of a consortium of 30 states that submitted a proposal for a $178m federal grant to develop a new, groundbreaking series of tests for students. In 2014 the federal grant came to an end and the SBAC was transferred to UCLA and became a public agency.


The SBAC is funded by the memberships of the 16 states, that currently offer the tests, and all tests have been available for students to take since April 2015. Testing costs around $28 per student for the full package of resources and although it can cost states a significant amount of money to introduce, the resources that are included can actually end up saving money and time for educators. Around 220 colleges nationwide accept the high school summative SBAC tests as evidence for college readiness for credit level courses.


The progressive tests were created using a dynamic process of field-testing and in Spring 2014, 4.2 million students took the first field tests which facilitated the evaluation of over 19,000 assessment items. This allowed for the first set of achievement standards to be set, which were a starting point for discussion about achievement standards across the states that took part and as a baseline measure for the future.


The SBAC is designed to be a valid and reliable approach to student assessment, providing actionable data to provide interventions to help students succeed. For states offering the tests, the SBAC provides three components developed by nearly 5000 teachers nationwide:


  • Formative and practice assessments with a digital library of resources for students and educators.
  • Interim assessments
  • Summative assessments towards college and career readiness in English, Language Arts and Math


The SBAC summative tests are available for students in grade 3-8th and high school and are all administered via an interactive online platform. The tests take between 2.5 – 4 hours for each component and are either marked digitally or by qualified professional scorers. The marks for each assessment are available in 2-3 weeks for parents, educators and students. Each student receives a result of 1,2,3 or 4 on each test with 1 representing a student who is minimally qualified and 4 a student who is thoroughly qualified.


The movement towards rigorous and valid assessment helps both states and the nation ensure that students are leaving high school with a diploma that prepares them for adult life. The SBAC provides a way to ensure that every student succeeds and every school district is accountable for that because of the tests.


Oregon’s Common Core Continues Movement

It’s been five years since Oregon adopted the Common Core standards and only this year took their first standardized test based on this new set of grade graduation requirements. As far as the state is concerned, though, it has given nothing but support and continues to provide this support as its teachers have adapted and pushed forward with this more rigorous set of learning standards.


Common Core Positivity

As a state not embroiled in Common Core fighting, Oregon news on the subject remains as unbiased as possible, doing its best to portray the adoption in a more positive light. When searching for news, Oregon is one of the few states to not have a “Parents Against Common Core” website populate one of the first results. It’s a shocking difference to anyone that has actually spent time reading about this issue.


State Exam Negativity

Though teachers and parents are accepting of the Core, it’s the state exams that have recently proven to be a problem. Known as PARCC, or the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, the standardized test has been created by representatives from each state to test students to the Core standards. Unfortunately, the implementation of this new test has led to some rather upsetting growing pains.

According to a survey released November 2015, many in Oregon’s teachers union are very concerned about this new test. Interestingly enough, though, it’s not about their students’ abilities to succeed. Instead, it’s more about the lost instructional time. One of the main examples used in this expression of concern revolved around “Raoul”, a Spanish-speaking student that had trouble reading but loved his wood shop class. Because of the testing, his time spent woodworking was severely decreased, so much so that during one testing phase, he simply clicked random answers to be done with the test while choking back tears.

However, this didn’t stop the testing from proceeding as planned. On top of the time sink, this year’s testing results have also shown just how many students aren’t at a college-ready level. In fact, only two-thirds of the state’s students read well enough for higher education while less than half have the math skills required. The state found that the usual low-income/high-income discrepancies are still there, with the economically struggling having the hardest time.

Not all hope is lost, though. In one school, teachers were able to virtually destroy this disparity, equipping over 80% of its lower income students with the education needed to achieve success in college. According to the teachers there, it’s all about showing the students how they can use what they’re learning in real life. If citations lead to a bigger allowance, kids will listen.

Unifying Learning in Oregon

In the modern age of science and technology the word is progressing so fast that most of the important things are being ignored now a day. These things include our proper diet plan, our culture, civilization and much more. But the most important thing we are missing is based upon our education standards. There are a lot of points that should be included in our education standards tick list and a few of them should be corrected or removed from it. According to us the thing that should be checked on top of the list in our education system is “Common Core Standards”. But unfortunately it’s the thing that is being neglected the most. Trend is developing now a day to get your child the best education they can have and we have a lot of consideration for that. But prior to discuss these standards in any particular region like Oregon, first of its necessary to discuss or mention that what common core standards are:

The common core state standards are fundamental description of writing, reading and different skills including mathematics that focus on a children’s ability to think independently. Today’s it’s a trend to prepare students to enter a world of colleges and business that demands more than ever before. To ensure that system that every student gets the best of its education Common Core Standards are formed. There are a large number of myths that are in the air now a day. A few of them says that this step will bring all states standards down to the lowest common denominator. But all of them are generally termed as false myths because there are experts who are developing such sort of standards and are improving the education level to build different skills in growing children according to their age.

If we talk about the state of Oregon, there are different standards that have been adopted by the state and the education board of Oregon and a few of them are being developed or going to be implemented in the near future. The common core state standards for different subjects including English Language Arts, History Literature, Social Studies, Science, Mathematics and different technical subjects were adopted by the Oregon State Board of Education on October 28.2010. These standards are the foundation of K-12 Oregon Diploma. This is considered as a good degree in Oregon. So trend of common core standards is increasing and it’s said to be the future plan or the system for the children of Oregon.

The new standards call for schools to be more intellectually challenging in every grade, starting with kindergarten. But the standards have profoundly affected the professional lives of teachers and will have a big impact on Oregon students. Under the Common Core, students are asked to write more, and to articulate and defend their reasoning a lot more. They’re also expected to master skills such as multiplication, fractions and linear formulas at younger ages, use more advanced vocabulary, and read and synthesize a lot more nonfiction.

First-graders, for example, are expected to pull information from multiple written sources and write a cogent report using complete sentences and precise vocabulary. Nearly half of what students used to learn in Algebra I now is required to pass ordinary middle school math. In most districts, fully switching to Common Core is still a work in progress. But state and federal agreements mean the standards are firmly in place in Oregon. Students, teachers and schools all will be judged by their scores on Common Core-aligned tests beginning in spring 2015.

Political Analysis says that the Government wants higher and uniform education standards, Even though Oregon’s standards were low, many students weren’t reaching them. Nevertheless, Oregon was one of the first to adopt the Common Core standards, which were written by researchers and academic experts and vetted by teachers, college professors and curriculum officials. Oregon’s Board of Education approved them in fall 2010, giving districts nearly four years to complete the switch. Since the early 1990’s Oregon has been a leader in standards work. The adoption in October 2010 of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English language arts and mathematics keeps Oregon moving education forward. As implementation of the CCSS progresses, ODE is committed to working with its partners in education to make the transition a smooth one for students and teachers.

But the question that arises here is that what would be the result of implementing such standards or what are the effects of it so far, In Oregon, the implementation process has been highly criticized by teachers, parents and state officials. Beginning in the 2014/2015 school year, all students K-12 will be evaluated by the Common Core standards and take the Smarter Balanced Assessment, although they are not formally prepared for it.

Top education officials say the expected mass failure will give students and teachers the wake-up call they need, but educators and parents are worried. The program was launched in 2009 in 48 states, two territories and D.C. to unify learning standards and better prepare students for college and careers with a focus on critical thinking and problem solving skills.

In Oregon, it will cost $13 million per year, compared to $9 million the state spent annually on previous tests. In 2014, Oregon invested $11 million in test-based teacher training. In the test, students must show how they arrive at answers to short answer, comprehension and technologically assisted questions, replacing typical multiple choice questions of historic standardized testing. Teachers said they have not had enough time or adequate resources to incorporate the new material into their curriculum.

To conclude that we can say that it’s the system that can change the vision of your young generation. But it does also have many adverse effects though. But to cut the crap out it should be said that this system is dominating the states slowly but steadily.