Essential Skills for 21st Century Success

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What Are Essential Skills?

Demonstrating Proficiency

Standards: Reading

Standards: Writing

Standards: Math

Students with Special Needs

English Language Learners

Talented and Gifted Students

 

What Are Essential Skills?

In order to graduate students must demonstrate proficiency in certain 21st century skills needed for success in college, careers and civic life. The following essential skills will be phased in over several years:

• Read and comprehend a variety of text (class of 2012)
• Write clearly and accurately (class of 2013)
• Apply mathematics in a variety of settings (class of 2014)

After 2014:
• Listen actively and speak clearly and coherently
• Think critically and analytically
• Use technology to learn, live, and work
• Demonstrate civic and community engagement
• Demonstrate global literacy
• Demonstrate personal management and teamwork

  

Demonstrating Proficiency

These essential skills are already being taught in Oregon schools, but the requirement to demonstrate proficiency in order to graduate is new. 

As the reading, writing and math requirements are phased in, students will need to meet specific standards for each skill on the high school statewide assessment (OAKS), or an alternate assessment, in order to graduate.

Students who do not meet the achievement standards on OAKS will be offered targeted assistance and opportunities to retake the test or another approved assessment, or demonstrate proficiency through work samples.

Read and comprehend a variety of text (2012)

Students must meet ONE of the following standards:

Assessment Options
Achievement Standard
OAKS Reading Assessment 236
ACT 18
ACT PLAN 18
Work Keys 5
Compass 81
ASSET 42
SAT 440
PSAT 44
2 reading work samples (at least one informational reading selection; the second selection may be either informational or literary)
12 across the three required traits for each work sample (each trait must receive an individual score of at least 3. Work samples are scored locally with the official state reading scoring guide.

 

Write clearly and accurately (2013)

Students must meet ONE of the following standards:

Assessment Options
Achievement Standard
OAKS Writing Performance Assessment 40 composite score: Average of 4 on each of the four required traits.
3 writing work samples (one each for all of the following: Expository, Persuasive, Narrative) 4 on each of the four required traits for each of the three work samples. Work samples are scored locally with the official state writing scoring guide.

 

Apply mathematics in a variety of settings (2014)

Students must meet ONE of the following standards:

Assessment Options
Achievement Standard
OAKS Mathematics Assessment
236
ACT
19
ACT PLAN
19
Work Keys
5
Compass
66 (Intermediate Algebra Test)
ASSET
41 (Intermediate Algebra Test)
SAT
450
PSAT
45
2 mathematics work samples (one each for two of the following: Geometry, Algebraic Relationships, Statistics/Probability)
4 on each of the four required traits plus accuracy. Work samples are scored locally with the official state mathematics problem solving scoring guide.

 

Modifications for Students with Special Needs

All students, including those with special needs, must demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills in order to receive a regular or modified diploma. Some students, particularly students with disabilities who are receiving special education and students on 504 plans, may need accommodations in order to participate in the essential skill assessments. 

Students with special needs should follow the same process and timeline to achieve the essential skills as their non-disabled peers. However, while students seeking a modified diploma must meet the essential skills requirements, school districts may modify certain assessment options for these students. Such decisions are made on a case-by-case basis. 

  

Accommodations for English Language Learners

Students whose home language is not English need support as they advance toward earning a high school diploma. Limited English Proficient (LEP) students should follow the same process and timeline to achieve the essential skills as their English-speaking classmates. However, some options are available to these students.

While students may fall in several broad categories according to their progress in mastering academic English, decisions about assessments in the essential skills will be made on an individual basis. A small number of students may be eligible to demonstrate proficiency in the essential skills in their language of origin. Those students must have met the following criteria:

1.    They will have been enrolled in U.S. schools for five years or less when they reach their senior year.
2.    They will have accumulated or be on track to accumulate the 24 required credits for graduation.
3.    They will have achieved a score of 3 or higher on the ELPA assessment.

  

Talented and Gifted Students

While some students will need additional support to achieve the requirements of the essential skills, other students will demonstrate their skills early — possibly even in 8th or 9th grade.

Some of these students may be identified as Talented and Gifted (TAG) and others may not.  But all these students need opportunities to continue to grow and develop in the essential skills.