PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The Oregon Department of Education’s latest report on the 2022-23 statewide assessment shows that students’ test results improved from the previous school year, but more progress is needed in order for results to meet pre-pandemic levels.
The summative tests determine whether students from the third grade to the 12th grade are proficient, or “on track to be college and career ready,” by their high school graduation.
“This past spring 2023 saw an improvement in participation as well as achievement stabilizing,” said Andrea Lockard, the director of assesment at ODE.
Last school year, about 43% of Oregon students were proficient in English Language Arts, 30.6% were proficient in mathematics and 29.4% were proficient in science. While math and science saw a 0.2% and 0.1% increase from the 2021-22 school year, ELA saw a 0.6% decrease.
Oregon’s largest school district, Portland Public Schools, saw similar trends. Across the district, students’ ELA proficiency grew from 54.7% to 55.4% over the past two school years. Math proficiency grew from 43.8% to 46.2%, and science proficiency grew from 38.1% to 40.5%
However, the differences are more significant when 2022-23 test results are compared to 2018-19 — students’ last year in school before the COVID-19 pandemic.
At that time, 53.4% of Oregon students were considered proficient in ELA, while 39.4% were proficient in math and 36.9% in science.
In a statement, Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek said the new results show the resilience of students who have had to adapt to pandemic-era learning.
“These latest scores affirm the need to target state investments in our education system, including community-based summer and afterschool programs to accelerate learning and student wellbeing,” Kotek said. “These scores show we’re stabilizing, but we can accelerate learning with more out-of-school time investments.”
ODE Director Charlene Williams said in a statement to KOIN 6 that the results need to improve.
“I’m in no way satisfied with where these results are. I took this role to make a difference, we need to see what the data are telling us and be responsive to that. We need to maintain high expectations and provide high levels of support that will lead to academic excellence for all of our students, whether it’s making sure each and every child from birth through 5th grade is set up for success in learning to read and reading to learn or providing opportunities for high school students to find their path to their dream career. We know that staff and students work hard throughout the school year in so many areas that aren’t reflected in this assessment data. The results from a single test do not tell the whole story of education in Oregon, however they are important indicators that require our attention and more work ahead.”
ODE added that investing in the education system benefits teachers as well as students. The agency says further support could bring more diverse, highly-qualified people into the workforce.