May 6, 2002

Contact: Cecelia Hagen, 541-346-5829

Washington Mutual Grants Helps New Admissions System

EUGENE - Washington Mutual Foundation has awarded Oregon University System a $60,000 grant in recognition of its work toward implementing a proficiency-based admissions system in 2005.

The State Board of Higher Education has endorsed the gradual adoption of the innovative proficiency-based admission system for all of Oregon's public universities.

"We're encouraging applicants to inform us about standards they have met because the quality of information will allow us to better serve our students," said Joe Cox, OUS chancellor. In Fall 2001, all seven OUS schools accepted the first cohort of students with proficiency-based standards as part of their application process.

The Washington Mutual grant will be used to aid implementation. OUS will award from $1,000 to $2,000, depending on the number of departments involved, to a number of high schools whose teachers have been "early adopters" of the system. Schools may use the funds in any way they see fit to further implement standards relating to college admission.

"We're pleased to provide recognition to the teachers in these high schools for their excellence and innovation" said Ozzie Rose, executive director of the Confederation of Oregon School Administrators.
"It's good to see teachers helping students connect to their next steps, no matter what those steps may be."

OUS has used the Washington Mutual grant fund is to convene a recent three-day meeting of more than 75 of Oregon's educational leaders. The Institute for the Future of Oregon's High Schools, held April
28-30, brought together representatives from the Oregon Department of Education, OUS, Oregon Business Council/Worksite 21, and several of the state's school districts. Work at the Institute focused on integrating
systems, generating practical strategies, approaches, and models, and working within the current policy context. A report from the Institute will be released later this month.

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