Overview of Essential Skills
What are the Essential Skills?
The Nine Essential Skills are cross-disciplinary skills that students should be developing across grades K- 12.
For students first enrolled in Grade 9 in 2010-2011 or later, three of the Essential Skills are graduation requirements:
- Read and comprehend a variety of text
- Write clearly and accurately
- Apply mathematics in a variety of settings
How do students meet the graduation requirements?
Students prove that they have mastered these Essential Skills by earning at or above a cut score on one of the approved assessment options in their district. For information about the assessment options for each Essential Skill, please visit the Reading, Writing, or Mathematics Essential Skill pages. The links to these pages are listed below under the heading “Resources” and in the left column of this page.
Where can I find Work Sample prompts?
Work Sample prompts (one of the approved assessment options for the Essential Skills) are available in the ORSkills online system.
- ORSkills FAQ
Quick reference about the ORSkills online system, including answers to questions about features, benefits, and costs of the system.
- ORSkills Quick Introduction Video
Two minute introduction to the ORSkills assessment platform available to all Oregon school districts.
How were the Essential Skills developed?
The Essential Skills Task Force – comprised of educators from K-12, community college, higher education, students, and business/community representatives – worked together in 2007 to develop the Essential Skills policy. In 2008 the Essential Skills were available for public review and input was collected through online surveys as well focus groups. The Task Force incorporated the feedback and Oregon Administrative Rules (OARs) for the Essential Skills were adopted by the Board on June 19, 2008.
Essential Skills Resources
To support students, teachers, administrators, and parents learn what the expectations are for the Essential Skills requirement across K-12 curricula, ODE has provided additional links to administration resources, instructional planning resources, and data resources.
Essential Skills Resources
To support Essential Skills across K-12 curricula, links to instructional planning resources, including Common Core links, and data resources follow.
Essential Skills Data Reports
School districts report to ODE which assessment option each graduate used to demonstrate proficiency in the required Essential Skills. ODE compiles this information into a report of district and state-level data. The State Board of Education has approved three categories of assessments that students can use to meet the Essential Skills graduation requirements: the state test, other standardized tests, and work samples.
- 2015 Essential Skills Report
Four-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2011-2012 school year and demonstrated the Reading, Writing, and Math Essential Skills to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2015
Five-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2010-2011 school year and demonstrated the Reading and Writing Essential Skills to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2015
- 2014 Essential Skills Report
Four-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2010-2011 school year and demonstrated the Reading, Writing, and Math Essential Skills to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2014
Five-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2009-2010 school year and demonstrated the Reading and Writing Essential Skills to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2014
- 2013 Essential Skills Report
Four-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2009-2010 school year and demonstrated the Reading and Writing Essential Skills to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2013
Five-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2008-2009 school year and demonstrated the Reading Essential Skill to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2013
- 2012 Essential Skills Report
Four-year outcomes: Students who entered high school during the 2008-2009 school year and demonstrated the Reading Essential Skill to earn a Regular Diploma or Modified Diploma in 2012
Assessment of Essential Skills Review Panel
The Assessment of Essential Skills Review Panel is charged with making recommendations on:
- The phasing in of Essential Skills
- The adoption of assessment options to measure students' proficiency in the approved Essential Skills
- The achievement standards used to determine student eligibility for the high school diploma or the modified diploma.
The State Board of Education considers recommendations from AESRP, but is not obligated to adopt AESRP's recommendations. The State Board of Education may ask for additional information from AESRP, beyond the recommendation, or may ask AESRP for a general position.
Panelists are selected with attention to geographic representation and representation across a range of functional considerations, including professional roles and affiliations and experience with working with diverse population. Panelists serve a three-year term with annual recruitment and selection in the spring.
ODE Recruitment - Essential Skills and Assessment of Essential Skills Review Panel
ODE is seeking current educators with assessment literacy to review the work conducted by ODE and make recommendations to the Oregon State Board of Education for approval of other standardized assessments and minimum proficiency scores to meet Oregon’s Essential Skills requirements (for secondary completion). Please complete the AESRP Recruitment Form by no later than August 30, 2019.
Please refer to the cover page on the recruitment form for additional information on AESRP member responsibilities, commitments, and estimated meeting dates for the 2019 -2020 instructional year, or contact Tony Bertrand, ELA Assessment Specialist.
AESRP Meeting Information
All meetings of the Assessment of Essential Skills Review Panel are open to the public and will conform to Oregon public meetings laws. The upcoming meeting schedule and materials from past meetings are posted online. Meeting notifications are emailed through the Assessment and Accountability Update Newsletter.
A request for an interpreter for the hearing impaired or for accommodations for people with disabilities should be made by email to Lacey Rhoades. Requests for accommodation should be made at least 48 hours in advance.
Meeting Date and Time
Friday, September 27th, 2019 from 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM: Register to attend.
- Agenda - TBD
- Meeting Minutes from May 17th, 2019 - Draft
- May 17, 2019:
- January 11, 2019:
September 29, 2018:
- January 12, 2018:
- April 6, 2018:
- June 7, 2018:
- August 26, 2016:
- January 13, 2017:
- April 14, 2017:
- August 27, 2015:
- October 2, 2015:
- January 8, 2016:
- April 8, 2016:
- June 1, 2016:
- October 9, 2014:
- January 16, 2015:
- April 24, 2015:
- October 4, 2013:
- January 17, 2014:
- April 25, 2014:
- October 5, 2012:
- January 17, 2013:
- April 18, 2013:
- October 21, 2011:
- January 20, 2012:
- April 27, 2012:
- October 14-15, 2010:
- January 14, 2011:
- April 29, 2011 :
- October 1-2, 2009:
January 8, 2009:
May 7, 2010:
- January 28, 2009:
- February 26, 2009:
- April 9, 2009:
- April 29, 2009:
- June 3, 2009: