Contacts:  Gene Evans, ODE: (503) 378-3600, ext. 2237
                  Di Saunders, OUS: 503-725-5714; Cell: 503-807-5539
Sources:    Shirley Clark, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, OUS: 541-954-3006 (cell);
                      541-346-5791 (office)
                  Christine Tell, Director of PASS, OUS: 541-954-5714 (office)

Study Finds Alignment Between Performance on State Assessment Tests and
Freshman Year GPA

PORTLAND, February 10 - Preliminary findings of a study shared today at a joint meeting of the State Board of Education and State Board of Higher Education (the "Joint Boards") indicate a positive relationship between student performance on academic standards at the 10th grade benchmark and successful performance in the first year of college. The full report, The First Year: Student Performance on 10th Grade Benchmark Standards and Subsequent in the First Year of College Performance (2001-02), will be released to the Joint Boards and the State Legislature in Salem on February 24.

State Board of Education Chair Jill Kirk said, "There have been questions from many fronts as to the value of state assessment tests in truly indicating students' academic achievement levels and future performance. This study clearly indicates that the 10th grade benchmarks are closely aligned with college success and students' ability to move beyond freshman year."

The First Year study is examining how closely Oregon students' performance on academic standards predicts (a) success in their first year college courses and (b) continuing beyond freshman year at an Oregon public university or community college. The indicators of college success measured in the study include overall freshman year college GPA, college GPA by individual subject areas, and continuing in college beyond freshman year (referred to as "persistence" in college).

Preliminary findings include:

  • Students who "meet" or "exceed" the standard at 10th grade benchmark level are more likely to earn a higher GPA in related college courses than students who did not meet the standard.

  • Students performing at higher levels on the various state assessments at the 10th grade benchmark also perform at higher levels in college (as indicated by college GPA). For example, 71% of students who "exceeded" the standard in 10th grade benchmark levels had an average college GPA of 3.0 in math beyond calculus, compared to the "meets" standard students, 25% of whom took math beyond calculus and had an average college GPA of 2.6.

  • The combined 10th grade benchmark assessments (reading, writing, math problem solving, and math knowledge and skills) correlate with first year college GPA at the same level as the SAT.

"While there is no single perfect predictor of first year college success, this study reaffirms that there is a positive relationship among state assessments, high school GPA, college GPA, and the SAT," said Richard Jarvis, Chancellor of the Oregon University System (OUS). "As we have for almost ten years, OUS will continue to work with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to align the K-12 standards and benchmarks with college entry and make that transition a point of success for students."

Using 1999-2000 state data, researchers in the Institutional Research Services Division of the Oregon University System (OUS) identified a cohort of students who participated in state assessments and subsequently enrolled in an OUS institution or Oregon community college in the fall of 2001.

Cam Preus-Braly, Commissioner for the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development said, "From the writing and math results we have reviewed, we find it very promising that successful performance in community college programs is related to the standards that students achieve in high school."

The freshman class that entered OUS institutions and the state's community colleges in fall 2001 is also the first group of Oregon students to have additional information about performance on academic standards at the 10th grade benchmark as part of the requirements of the Oregon Education Act for the 21st Century. This performance was measured by the Oregon state assessment system in four areas: reading/literature, writing, math problem solving, and math knowledge and skills.

Susan Castillo, Superintendent of Public Instruction, said, "Knowing that 10th grade assessments line up with students' college performance gives schools and classroom teachers an 'early warning' tool to identify those who need additional preparation. I am most pleased with the confirmation that our state assessment tests align so closely to the content of the SAT. It is evidence that our state testing system is rigorous and reflects content for college preparation."

The Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of the seven-campus Oregon University System, is composed of eleven members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate.

For additional information on OUS and the State Board of Higher Education, go to: For additional information on the Oregon Department of Education or the State Board of Education go to:

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