Juniors face new testing requirements

Kathryn LeMoine and Shannon Kelly

As soon as 12 weeks before school gets out, juniors will have to take, and pass, the new Smarter Balanced state tests in order to graduate.

For the first time, students in Oregon in grades 3-8 and 11 must take the Smarter Balanced state tests that have replaced OAKS state tests in the subjects of Language Arts and Math.

These computer-based tests are based on the Common Core standards and include selected, constructed, and extended response questions, as well as technology-enhanced and performance tasks. Also, many teacher and parents hope they will address many skills that cannot be tested by multiple choice tests.

“Its part of this larger movement in the country to adopt a common set of standards for students and for teachers,” said assistant principal Rollin Dickinson in an interview.

“It is very different from the graduation requirements we’ve had in the past,” said English teacher Daniela Bonanno. “Students will have to read passages and think more analytically.”

Juniors taking this test will have a special schedule because the tests are expected to take approximately two hours to complete.

“These standards are slightly more challenging, more rigorous, in order to prepare more students across the country to be more career ready and college ready,” said Dickinson.