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Oregon students hold steady in state tests



SALEM (AP) — Amid a major push to boost high school graduation and college attendance, Oregon students held steady in proficiency in reading, writing, math and science, the scores on statewide tests show.

The state Department of Education released the results of the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills on Wednesday. Challenges remain for minority students, poor students, those learning English and students with learning disabilities.

Deputy Superintendent Rob Saxton said it takes time to transform education, and he is confident things will improve in the years to come.

While there were ups and downs in grades and subjects, the department said overall test results held fairly steady from the 2012-13 school year to 2013-14.

Chief Education Officer Nancy Golden said third-grade reading is a good predictor for life-long success, and that measure stayed unchanged at 66 percent of third-graders meeting the standard.

In 2012, Gov. John Kitzhaber set an ambitious goal that every student in the high school class of 2025 would graduate and 80 percent of them would go on to get a two- or four-year college degree.

Schools saw an overall increase in state and local spending of $1.1 billion over a two-year period, said Education Department spokeswoman Crystal Greene.

About $18 million in grants focused on turning around poor scores among minority students, poor students, those learning English, and students with learning disabilities, the

department said.

Among all students, proficiency in math was unchanged at 62 percent meeting or exceeding standards. Poor students were unchanged at 50 percent. White students rose 1 percent, to 68 percent. Black students declined 2 percent, to 38 percent, and Hispanic students remained at 46 percent meeting standards.

In reading, all students were unchanged at 71 percent meeting or exceeding standards. Poor students remained at 59 percent. White students were unchanged at 77 percent; black students dropped 1 percent, to 51 percent; and Hispanic students rose 1 percent, to 53 percent.

In science, all students were up 1 percent, to 66 percent meeting or exceeding standards. Poor students were unchanged at 53 percent. White students remained at 73 percent; black students were up 1 percent, to 39 percent; and Hispanic students rose 1 percent, to 44 percent.

In writing, all high school juniors were down 1 percent, to 59 percent meeting or exceeding standards. Poor 11th-graders declined 1 percent, to 46 percent. White students were unchanged at 64 percent; black students rose 2 percent, to 41 percent; and Hispanic students remained at 43 percent.

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