Oregon Student Assessments – What does “Proficient” Mean?

Oregon uses the Smarter Balanced assessments, and their website has lots of information about their scaled scoring methodology. Here’s our attempt to make it as simple and straightforward as possible.

For each grade level and subject area, scores are broken out into four ranges. They refer to these as “Levels”, and here’s a brief description of what they mean a student can demonstrate for each subject:

Level 1: Minimal understanding of and ability to apply knowledge
Level 2: Partial understanding of and ability to apply knowledge
Level 3: Adequate understanding and ability to apply knowledge
Level 4: Thorough understanding of and ability to apply knowledge

A student is considered “proficient” if they achieve a score in Level 3 or 4. So the dashboard we created and the charts you’ve seen on the news are based on the % of students who scored in level 3 or 4.

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What makes this complex is that the scores required for each level increase with each grade level. In essence the requirements to be proficient go up as the student gets older. This makes sense as these assessments are intended to assess their readiness for college, and we’d have higher expectations of proficiency for a 3rd grader vs an 11th grader. I included a picture that shows the scores for each level by grade & subject.

That Smarter Balanced website has a lot more info as well as a YouTube video that explains how they determined the necessary scores for each grade and level.

If you have any additional info or questions just reach out using our Contact page. Thank you!