BEND, OR -- Bend-La Pine School District officials are pleased with local student performance in the first year of Smarter Balanced testing. State numbers released last week showed 41% of Oregon students were proficient in math, 54% in English and Language Arts. Bend-La Pine Assistant Superintendent Lora Nordquist tells KBND local results were better, but also mixed. " As a district we outperform the state in both math and English/language arts, so that’s the good news. The bad news is that only about half (49%) our students were proficient or above in math and about 2/3 of our students (63%) in English/Language arts. So, we’ve got work to do."
Nordquist acknowledges the new standardized test isn't perfect. "We’re so supportive of the Common Core state standards, because we really believe they’re internationally benchmarked standards; they are really helping students to be college and career ready and that’s the intent behind them. We support the assessments, in terms of their challenge and difficulty and that they’re asking students to really perform at a high levels. But, we too are concerned about the amount of time it takes for the test," says Nordquist. "As a district, we have been using ACT for many, many years. All our 11th graders take the ACT; we think that’s another test that also has high benchmarks and really looks at college and career readiness, and is far shorter. We don’t have the power as a district to determine what our state assessment is, but I know we’re advocating at the state level for perhaps other options or changes to Smarter Balanced to make it shorter."
School-by-school results should be released in the next two weeks. To hear more of our conversation with Lora Nordquist, visit our Podcast Page