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Smarter Balanced Tests Waive Oregon College Placement Exams

State test results will help ensure college course placement, avoid need for remedial courses

High school juniors in Oregon taking the Smarter Balanced assessments this spring may have an added benefit from the test when they reach college.

The Oregon Department of Education and the Higher Education Coordinating Commission have announced that Oregon’s 7 universities and 17 community colleges, along with other institutes of higher education in California, Washington and three other states, will use Smarter Balanced scores in college course placement.

In adopting these agreements, Oregon’s higher education system leaders are signaling that the Smarter Balanced assessments can play an important role in indicating whether high school students have the mathematics, reading and writing skills needed for college success.

In total, nearly 200 colleges and universities so far have determined that students may waive placement testing if they score a 3 or higher on Smarter Balanced state tests and meet requirements for continued academic rigor during 12th grade. The agreements do not affect college admission, only first term placement in college level coursework, since eligible students will be exempt from taking the placement tests.

This is a significant development for Eugene students who plan to attend college on the West Coast, as many colleges in Oregon as well as Washington and California now will accept Smarter Balanced test scores in lieu of additional placement tests.  It means that students who complete the Smarter Balanced assessments and score a 3 or higher can save themselves both money and time in their college careers. Students who don’t meet standards on placement tests must take remedial courses at their own expense and without credit toward their college degrees.

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