May 18, 1999            

Contact:     Philip Bransford, (503) 725-5717
Source:    David Conley, (541) 346-5799

Educators to Test Proficiency-based Admissions Standards at Portland Conference

EUGENE -- College admissions officers from public and private institutions nationwide will see Oregon's new proficiency-based admission standards system in action May 24 at a conference on the campus of Portland State University. Participants at the Proficiency-based Admissions Standards System (PASS) Admissions Consortium will observe more than 100 Oregon high school teachers assess student work at the concurrently held PASS Verification Institute. The high school teachers will be demonstrating their use of criteria adopted by the State Board of Education to evaluate student work in math and English.

By 2005, evaluations similar to these will help determine which Oregon high school graduates qualify for admission in Oregon's public universities.

"The Oregon University System is phasing in a proficiency-based admissions system that will eventually replace grades and course titles as the primary means of determining college admission," explains PASS Co-director David Conley. "Although Oregon is at the forefront of this wave, many other states are examining similar strategies."

OUS began development of PASS in 1993 to dovetail with the performance-based standards for public high schools mandated by legislation in 1991. Oregon high schools are shifting their focus for student evaluation from grade point averages and standardized test scores to the completion of work samples demonstrating proficiency. Students who meet these new performance standards would earn a Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM) and those who meet further requirements would earn a Certificate of Advanced Mastery (CAM).

OUS is working closely with educators throughout Oregon to ensure compatibility among CIM, CAM and PASS. During the 1998-1999 school year, English and math teachers from 56 Oregon high schools have participated in training on how to help students generate portfolios -- also called "collections" -- of work and how to assess proficiency. These 56 high schools enroll roughly half of Oregon's high school students and are part of the PASS 2001 pilot program. Approximately 3,000 collections originating from these high schools will be judged for proficiency this spring.

Participants at the PASS Admissions Consortium will be able to score a sample collection of student work and observe a discussion among high school teachers about measuring proficiency. In addition to attending part of the Verification Institute, Consortium participants will hear about plans to implement electronic transcripting as well as on-line verification ands storage of student work samples, The Admissions Consortium will convene from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. in the Smith Center Ballroom on the campus of Portland State University.



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