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Assessment Development


In Oregon, students in the graduating class of 2014 and beyond are asked to meet the Essential Skill in Mathematics: “Apply mathematics in a variety of settings.” The goal of the Mathematics Essential Skill is better defined as proficiency in the following three components:

  • Interpreting a situation and applying workable mathematical concepts and strategies, using appropriate technologies where applicable.
  • Producing evidence, such as graphs, data, or mathematical models, to obtain and verify a solution.
  • Communicating and defending the verified process and solution using pictures, symbols, models, narrative or other methods.

Students have the opportunity to show mastery of the Essential Skill in a variety of ways including the state assessment (OAKS or Smarter Balanced), SAT, ACT, work samples and a variety of other options (Appendix A).  One of those options is the Local Assessment Option.  OAR 581-022-0615: Assessment of Essential Skills, as revised in June 2011, defines the process for districts that choose to develop and administer a local assessment option for students to demonstrate proficiency in the Essential Skills.

SMc Curriculum, in collaboration with McMinnville School District and Pendleton School District, has developed a Local Assessment Option to meet the needs of students who have not passed other assessment options in mathematics.  This document describes the assessment structure, item types, pilot process and the process used for setting a cut score.


Standards Alignment:

This local assessment was developed based on the overlap of the 2009 Oregon High School Math standards and the assessable 2010 High School Common Core State Standards (CCSS) of Mathematics (see Appendix B for standards assessed).  Students in the Classes of 2014 and 2015 will not be assessed on CCSS content so will not be held accountable to these standards for essential skills on this assessment.

The Common Core State Standards become assessable content for the Class of 2016.  Additional questions will be piloted and added to this local assessment option in future years to align it to state requirements.  See Appendix C for the roll-out of the standards changes on this assessment.


Figure 1 – Sample Question where partial credit is available


The overall assessment score is based on 40 items. Each item is worth 10 points for a total of 400 points on the assessment. Some item types (Figure 1) allow students to receive partial credit for answering one or more parts correctly.

The test consists of three overall domains.  Figure 2 shows the breakdown in number of items, points possible and weight for each domain.

Figure 2 – Domain Weights


Number of Items

Number of Points

Percent/Weight of Test









Statistics & Probability




Item Types:

A variety of item types are used in the assessment to best match the Smarter Balanced assessment that students will be assessed with beginning in 2014/15.  The assessment item styles include, but are not limited to, three- to five-choice selected response questions with one correct answer (Figure 3), selected response with more than one correct answer (Figure 4), fill in the blank (Figure 5), and constructed response (Figures 6 and 7).

Figure 3

Figure 4

Figure 5

Figure 6

Figure 7

At this time, all items on the assessment are computer scored to give objective feedback to students, parents and schools.  Extended response items that mirror the style of Claim 2 and 3 on the Smarter Balanced Assessment may be added in future years during the transition to the Common Core State Standards.

The assessment items are non-static. This means that each time the assessment is administered, unique questions and answer choices are generated for individual students.  Also, the question bank includes more than 150 questions. For the pilot, each student’s assessment included random questions per the weighted domains so that not all students attempted the same set of questions.