Smarter Balanced/OAKS Testing

  • This spring we will begin our state wide testing of 11th-graders in the areas of reading, writing, math, and science.  It is a graduation requirement for students to demonstrate proficiency in reading, writing, and math.  The assessment tool is known as Smarter Balanced (SBAC) and replaced the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS) in 2014-15.  

    Students can meet the graduation requirement of demonstrating proficiency in reading, writing, and math by earning "passing" scores on SBAC, ACT, PSAT, and AP tests.  See the Oregon Department of Education's guide, which includes the scores that student need to attain in order to meet their graduation requirement. 

    The Oregon Department of Education requires that all 11th-graders participate in the OAKS science assessment, which is not a graduation requirement.  At Wilson, we will begin testing our 11th-graders in the subject area of science on February 20.  The SBAC English Language Arts (reading and writing) will begin on April 7 and the SBAC Math test will begin on April 17.  Typically, students need one or two class periods to complete the language arts and math tests respectively.

    At Wilson, we have planned very strategically to stagger our spring assessments so that there is not an overlap of tests for our juniors between the ACT on February 28, SBAC in April, and then AP in May.

    If you would like to opt your student out of OAKS science and/or SBAC, you can find our district Opt Out Form here. We provided paper copies of this to your students already just after winter vacation.  Please turn in your Opt Out Form by February 10 to our Testing Coordinators, Meg Merrill and Kari Smith Haight, in the Main Office.

    Contact Vice Principal Ayesha Freeman (; 503-916-5135) if you have questions. 


    The OAKS Test Has Been Replaced by the Smarter Balanced Assessment

    State-wide testing changed in 2014 for reading, writing, and math. Previously, students throughout grade school, middle school, and high school were tested according to Oregon's state standards as reflected in the Oregon Assessment of Knowledge and Skills (OAKS).

    In 2010, Oregon adopted new standards that reflected nationally-normed grade level standards, called the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). PPS schools began to implement CCSS in 2011-2012 in math and English language arts. In 2013 at Wilson High School, teachers spent time in collaborative groups aligning their courses to Common Core State Standards. In Spring of 2014 our Juniors took a new Smarter Balanced Assessment, which is aligned to the Common Core State Standards. Teachers help prepare students for the types of questions that they can expect to see on this new, more rigorous exam.

    A few important items related to CCSS and the Smarter Balanced Assessment are:

    • Oregon adopted new standards, known as Common Core State Standards, in order to better prepare our students to meet the more rigorous requirements for college entrance as well as the rapidly changing requirements in the workplace.
    • Students will be tested on their proficiency of CCSS in the areas of English language arts and math on the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the late Spring of their junior year.
    • Results of the Smarter Balanced Assessments will provide valuable information to schools on how they can improve and better prepare students for life after high school.
    • The format of the Smarter Balanced Assessment goes beyond multiple-choice questions. It will be more interactive in nature (with short videos, for example) and the students will respond to multiple-choice and open-ended questions.
    • Students must demonstrate proficiency on the Smarter Balanced Assessment to graduate. This is not a new requirement. In 2013, 100% of our Seniors met the OAKS benchmark either through the OAKS test or through alternative methods of assessing their knowledge.
    • The most important thing parents can do is to support their students' school success in any way they are are able. This could include: making sure students are in school, attending their classes, completing assignments, checking in with teachers on students' progress in individual classes, and holding students accountable to acquire additional academic support during Tutor Time or Saturday School.

    You can find helpful information on the PPS website about the Smarter Balanced Assessment and the Common Core State Standards.