Smarter Balanced

Lower Scores initially expected on new Smarter Balanced Assessments
La Grande School Superintendent Larry Glaze
State officials are projecting that as many as 60% of 3rd graders and 65% of high school students will likely fail to meet passing standards on the new math and language arts Smarter Balanced Assessment this Spring. The assessment replaces the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills---OAKS test--- as part of the new common core state standards that Oregon has adopted. Oregon is one of 17 states to switch from a multiple choice test in math and reading to the more rigorous Smarter Balanced Assessment in grades 3-8 and high school. 

The new tests are designed to assess college and career readiness skills through a variety of testing techniques including performance work samples. Because the new content standards set higher expectations for students and the new tests are designed to assess against those standards, the bar has been raised and more students are likely to fail the first time when taking the new test. It’s not surprising that fewer students will pass the test. However, over time, the overall performance of student test results will improve.

As teachers and administrators work to implement the reading and math common core state standards into curriculum and daily lesson plans, students will become more adept at mastering the standards through classroom exposure. This requires a system- wide integration of common core state standards k-12 and will require time for teachers to fully understand the new testing system in order to effectively implement all the required standards into daily instruction. We are confident that with time, curriculum support  and hard work our students will show significant growth as measured on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the years to come.

Parents who would like more information about Smarter Balanced Assessment and common core can visit Oregon Department of Education’s website,, and click on “Common Core Standards & Assessments.”