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Aurora Institute

Oregon Gets an A+ for its New Grading Policy

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Chris Sturgis

Issue(s): State Policy, Build Balanced Systems of Assessments

Artemio Paz, JrChair, OR State Board of Education
Artemio Paz, Jr
Chair, OR State Board of Education

Diane Smith from Oregon’s Business Education Compact forwarded to me the Student Achievement, Grading and Reporting policy passed in December by the Oregon State Board of Education and scheduled to take effect July 1.  This is a great example of rulemaking by forward-thinking state education leaders.

The policy is chock-full of interesting ideas with powerful implications. Diane pointed out two major implications:

  • Parents will be informed whether or not their child is proficient in grade-level standards.
  • It institutionalizes the competency-based practice of maintaining academic performance reported separately from behavior factors.

A couple of others jump out as well:

  • Students will have multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of academic content standards.
  • Districts must respond to students who have not met or have exceeded the academic content standards with access to additional services and other public school or alternative educational options.

In addition to this policy advancing Oregon’s proficiency-based efforts, it looks like a very powerful policy tool for parent advocates to demand that their children get the help they need right now – not by retaining students but getting them the help they need right now.

The policy is included below.  

Individual Student Assessment, Recordkeeping, Grading, and Reporting (581-022-1670)

(1)  As used in this rule:

(a)  “Continuum of knowledge and skills” means the Oregon Academic Content Standards.

(b)  “Proficiency” means demonstrated knowledge and skills which meet or exceed defined levels of performance.

(2) Each school district shall assess and record each student’s progress and achievement in all subject areas of instruction and to academic content standards consistent with ORS 329.045 and OAR 581-022-1210:

(a) At a minimum, provide all teachers of reading/language arts and mathematics in grades in which the State administers assessments in those subjects with student performance data, including growth data on their current students and students they taught in the previous year in a manner that is timely and informs instructional programs.

(b) Instruments and/or strategies used to determine student progress may assess multiple standards;

(c) Results from the assessment instruments and/or strategies may be used as a record of achievement level; and

(d) Records of student performance may be kept in teacher grade books, student folders, portfolios, or similar devices.

(3) Each school district shall assist teachers in adapting instruction and curriculum to meet the needs and learning rates of all students in achieving proficiency in the academic content standards.  Districts must:

(a) Provide multiple opportunities for students to demonstrate mastery of academic content standards through sufficient and appropriate assessment evidence.

(b) Continue to provide opportunities for students who have met standards to advance their learning.

(c) Provide students who have not met or have exceeded the academic content standards with access to additional services and other public school or alternative educational options.

(4) Each school district shall annually report progress towards completion of diploma requirements to parents of students in grades 9–12, including credits earned, demonstration of extended application, and demonstration of the Essential Skills.

(5) Each school district shall adopt a grading system based on the local district board adopted course content aligned to the academic content standards consistent with Section (2) of this rule.  The grading system shall:

(a) Clearly show the student and parents whether the student is achieving course requirements at the student’s current grade level;

(b) Be based on the student’s progress toward becoming proficient in a continuum of knowledge and skills; and

(c)  Assure that the student’s academic grade reflects his/her academic performance consistent with OAR 581-021-0022; behavioral performance shall be reported separately.

(6) Each school district shall report at least annually on student progress to meeting or exceeding grade-level academic content standards to parents or guardians of all students in grades K-12 including, but not limited to, the following:

(a) Information on progress in each subject area (e.g., grades, checklists, folders, etc.) including major goals used to determine such information;

(b) Upon request from a parent or guardian, specific evidence of student progress on the continuum of knowledge and skills (academic content standards) of a subject area and

(c) Student scores on all state and local assessments indicating any of the requirements that have been waived for the school district or the individual and the time periods for the waiver.

(7) Each school district shall maintain student records under the student’s legal name and SSID or establish a cross-reference system to locate the student’s records by use of the student’s legal name, for time periods consistent with state archive rules as outlined in OAR 166-400-0060.

Stat. Auth.: ORS 326.051
Stats. Implemented: ORS 326.051 and 329.485
Hist.: EB 18-1996, f. & cert. ef. 11-1-96; ODE 18-2002, f. & cert. ef. 6-10-02; ODE 25-2008, f. & cert. ef. 9-26-08