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Oregon test scores indicate continuing low performance

September 21, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2015, file photo, students go through a lesson on the first day of school at Nancy Ryles Elementary School in Beaverton, Ore. Oregon elementary students have rebounded from last year's dip in reading and writing skills, but academic achievement remains mostly low across the state, according to state test scores.(AP Photo/Don Ryan, File)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon elementary students have rebounded from last year’s dip in reading and writing skills, but academic achievement remains mostly low across the state, according to state test scores.

The percentages of students demonstrating mastery in math this year are the lowest in the four years that Oregon’s students have taken the nationally benchmarked Smarter Balanced tests, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday.

Mastery in reading and writing has barely moved in four years, staying below 60 percent in elementary and middle schools.

Results in the state’s middle and high schools have largely remained hard to pin down, as numerous families have allowed their children to skip the tests. About 15 percent of 11th-graders skipped the tests this year, resulting in unreliable results.

The tests are intended to measure if students’ learning is on track for college and careers.

“We see this as an area we need to work on,” said Colt Gill, director of the state Department of Education. “I would not point to a highlight.”

The tests have shown an academic preparedness gap between low-income students and others, as well as a gap between white students and students of color.

Low-income students were down by 30 percent in mastery of reading, writing and math skills compared to their richer peers. Latino, black and Native American students similarly lagged by 25 percent to 30 percent.

The reading and writing scores of Native American students gained by 5 percent this year following a 4 percent drop the previous year, Gill said. But fewer than 95 percent of Native American students in the state took the tests this year.

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Information from: The Oregonian/OregonLive, http://www.oregonlive.com

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