Assessment of Essential Skills Waiver
During the 2021 legislative session, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed Senate Bill 744 which directed the Oregon Department of Education to engage with community members and review state requirements for high school diploma options, as well as to review state requirements related to demonstrations of proficiency in Essential Skills. ODE has completed the SB 744 Report, Community-Informed Recommendations for Equitable Graduation Outcomes. The report provides recommendations for consideration by the Legislature and State Board of Education; it does not change any current policy. The Assessment of Essential Skills policy remains suspended by SB 744 through 2023-24.
ODE plans to present to the Senate Education Subcommittee and State Board of Education in September 2022. ODE will communicate with districts and the public regarding any policy actions related to high school diplomas in Oregon as they are made by the Legislature or State Board in the coming session or meeting, respectively.
Note: SB 744 applies to the assessment of Essential Skills requirements for receiving a Regular or Modified Diploma and does not suspend the local performance assessment requirements for students in grades 3 through 8 and at least once in high school.
Though not related directly to assessment, it is important to note that the education plan, education profile, and extended application graduation requirements remain in place, as well.
For additional information or questions regarding
SB 744, please contact
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Carla Martinez. Requests for accommodation should be made at least 48 hours in advance.
Meeting Date and Time
In response to the 2021 Legislative Session and SB 744, AESRP Meetings have been suspended while ODE engages in the process of reviewing the assessment of Essential Skills requirements.
- April 10, 2020 - Meeting canceled.
- 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