Contact: Di Saunders, OUS: 503-725-5714; Cell: 503-807-5539
Sources: David McDonald, Director, Enrollment Services, OUS: 541-346-5729
               Christine Tell, Director of PASS, OUS: 541-346-5714

Oregon High Schools Receive Report on Former Students' College Performance

PORTLAND, March 6 - Principals and Superintendents of public schools across the state received a report this week that details how their former students performed during their freshman year in an Oregon public university. Last Friday, Oregon University System sent out its Class of 2001 Entering Freshman Profile, a report distributed annually that provides information about student performance at all seven state universities. For the first time, the Profile also includes how these same students performed on the 10th grade benchmark assessments. This new information was made available through a recent OUS study, The First Year: 10th Grade Benchmark Standards and First Year College Performance (2001-02), which tracked the alignment of students' 10th grade assessments with freshman year academic results.

"High school administrators and teachers often receive very little feedback on how their college-bound students did as freshmen," said Richard Jarvis, chancellor of Oregon University System (OUS). "With the addition of the 10th grade assessment scores, the Profile provides schools with another indicator on their pre-college preparation programs, and its alignment with the realities of college-level work."

Results of The First Year study showed a close alignment of students' performance on the 10th grade assessments and their freshmen level work, with students who met or exceeded standards earning higher college GPAs. For example, a student who scored a "meets" on the writing assessment had a 39% probability of getting a 3.0 GPA ("B") or higher in college; while a student who scored "exceeds" had a 65% probability of getting a "B" or higher in college. In math, students scoring "low" or "working toward" on the assessments had only a 1% and 15% chance, respectively, of getting a "B" or better; while students at the "meets" and "exceeds" had a 41% and 59% chance, respectively, of getting a "B" or better.

David McDonald, director of enrollment and student services for OUS, said, "We are very encouraged that the 10th grade benchmark performance has been shown to be an early indicator of college academic readiness. Principals, teachers, parents and students themselves can use the results as a planning tool for the last two years of high school. The results help indicate whether a student is on track for college success, if he or she continues to take rigorous course work, and provides a focus on needed areas of improvement," added McDonald.

High school administrators are also seeing the benefit of using 10th grade benchmarks as a beacon to signal a student's readiness for higher education. "Having a 10th grade predictor of college performance is valuable to students, parents, teachers, and administrators," said Gary Sehorn, administrator of instruction, assessment and advanced programs for Beaverton School District. "For parents and students, it gives new meaning to the statewide assessment. For teachers and administrators, it is another opportunity to help students plan for realizing their potential," noted Sehorn. "It is information that can help inform corrective instruction and program modification."

The First Year study examined how closely Oregon students' performance on academic standards predicts (a) success in their first year college courses and (b) continuing beyond freshman year at an Oregon public university or community college. The indicators of college success measured in the study include overall freshman year college GPA, college GPA by individual subject areas, and continuing in college beyond freshman year (referred to as "persistence" in college).

Findings include:

  • Students who "meet" or "exceed" the standard at 10th grade benchmark level are more likely to earn a higher GPA in related college courses than students who did not meet the standard.
  • Students performing at higher levels on the various state assessments at the 10th grade benchmark also perform at higher levels in college (as indicated by college GPA). For example, students who "exceeded" the standard in 10th grade benchmark levels had an average college GPA of 3.29 in math beyond calculus, compared to the "meets" standard students, who had an average GPA of 2.87 in math beyond calculus.
  • The combined 10th grade benchmark assessments (reading, writing, math problem solving, and math knowledge and skills) correlate with first year college GPA at the same level as the SAT.

The 10th grade benchmark results of 18,600 students, about one-third attending 4-year and two-thirds at 2-year public institutions in Oregon, were matched with college freshmen performance. The Profile report, provided to high schools that had sent five or more students to an OUS institution, included the benchmark results of almost 6,100 students.

The freshman class that entered OUS institutions and the state's community colleges in fall 2001 is the first group of Oregon students to have additional information about performance on academic standards at the 10th grade benchmark as part of the Oregon Education Act for the 21st Century requirements. "I'm convinced that as performance on academic standards becomes more closely linked to college admission and placement, student motivation to reach higher standards will increase," said McDonald.

The Oregon University System (OUS) comprises seven distinguished public universities, reaching more than one million people each year through on-campus classes, statewide public services and lifelong learning. For a copy of The First Year report, go to, Academic Affairs, Reports.


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