Assessments and Common Core

Students engage in statewide tests

Smarter Balanced Assessments

In the spring, Bend-La Pine Schools’ students in grades 3-8 and 11 take part in statewide tests called Smarter Balanced Assessments, which measure skills in English language arts and math.

Staff and administrators in Bend-La Pine Schools support these tests for several reasons:

  • The tests are aligned with higher standards that are important measures of career and college readiness after graduation.

  • The results serve as a snapshot of each student’s academic progress and may be used to help determine his or her strengths and areas for improvement.

  • The test results allow us to evaluate how our students compare with students from districts around the state and nation.

Want to learn more about Oregon's state assessments?

Check out this helpful resource for detailed information

Frequently Asked Questions — Testing and Common Core

How Will Students Be Tested?

State tests are nothing new. Our students take state assessments every year. The tests, called Smarter Balanced, will be used by 20 states including Oregon and measure skills taught in Common Core.

How Will the Tests Be Administered?

Students will take the tests this spring and results will be released in the fall. Many schools are breaking the testing up into smaller pieces, so students will complete assessments over the course of several days.

What is the Common Core?

Governors and state education chiefs from 48 states worked with teachers to develop the Common Core to create a clear set of standards for students in language arts and math. We are asking more of our students with the goal of ensuring students who graduate from high school are prepared to enter the workforce or begin higher education classes.

Why Were These Standards Created?

Truth is, the old standards were too low and too varied. Before Common Core the country did not have any common standards, so a third grader moving from one state to another might struggle when starting school, simply due to vastly different standards. The new more rigorous standards are designed to ensure students are prepared for college or career. Having common standards also allows states to collaborate on tools, textbooks and assessments.

What's Different in the New Standards?

English Language Arts/Literacy:

  • Focus on non-fiction, careful reading
  • Discuss reading and write using evidence
  • Increase academic vocabulary


  • Learn more about fewer concepts
  • Focus on skill building, speed and accuracy
  • Use of real world examples to better understand concepts

When Did Bend-La Pine Schools Begin Using Common Core?

Common Core is not new for Bend-La Pine Schools. The district began using many of the standards during the 2009-10 school year. The testing related to those standards, called Smarter Balanced, began in the spring of 2015.

Does Common Core Mean Schools and Teachers Won't Have Control Over Curriculum?

No. While schools now share common goals, local teachers and administrators still determine what and how to teach. Teachers overwhelmingly support the Common Core as a way to improve schools and raise student standards.

Where Can I Learn More?

The Oregon Department of Education has some great resources available for parents at