NORTH PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Public Schools board discussed a measure Tuesday night that could change how a new standardized test aligned with the controversial Common Core state standards is used. Some members of the board say more time is needed before it can be used to measure teachers and schools.
This coming school year, students in Portland and the rest of the state will start using what's called Smarter Balanced Assessments.
On Tuesday, Portland's school board talked about a proposal calling for both the state and federal government to delay the use of the tests in any teacher evaluations or in the ranking of schools.
Supporters on the board say it's too soon to use the new test that way.
“We’re asking them to be mindful that they need to have a reliable test,” said school board member Ruth Adkins. “Perhaps use the first year of test results as kind of a pilot or transition period and then continue to be transparent about it (and) work to improve it as we go.”
“Basically, I want to eliminate it,” said board member Steve Buel. “It doesn’t make any sense. Their priorities are all wrong nationally and also in the state and here’s a chance to say, ‘Hey, your priorities are wrong.’”
The school board will vote on the measure on July 22.
Oregon Deputy Superintendent of Public Instruction Rob Saxton released the following statement on the measure to KATU:
“I agree that it is inappropriate to use a brand new test in educator evaluations, and that is why back in May I requested flexibility from the US Department of Education to suspend the use of the Smarter Balanced Assessment results in our educator evaluations this year. We anticipate an announcement from the feds in the coming weeks that will grant us this requested flexibility. I don’t, however, support suspending use of these results in our school rating models. Our growth-based model will translate from our current assessment to the new one. For school rankings, a set percentage of schools will be identified at each level. No matter how students perform on the new tests, only 5% of schools will be rated as level 1 (the lowest-performing schools) and the next 10% as level 2 schools. The change in testing will in no way impact the number of schools identified as low-performing. I believe there is value in schools receiving feedback on how they compare across their districts and the state as they work to improve student learning and outcomes.”