What’s working: Gresham High School’s lit program

Students scored well this year on Smarter Balanced Assessment

Books at the Gresham High School library, October 20 2015. (KOIN)

GRESHAM, Ore. (KOIN) — Gresham High School scored exceptionally well on the literature part of the Smarter Balanced Assessment test, a recently released report card showed.

John Koch, the Principle of Gresham High School, tells KOIN this is the first year results are seen from the Smarter Balanced test, which measure what students should know to be college and career ready.

“It’s a pretty intense test. The rigor from these new standards is far and above what schools across the country have been required to teach prior to this time,” Koch says.

82% of Gresham High School seniors met or exceeded the standards.

“9 out of the 10 subgroups — and they’re defined as students of color, students in poverty, and special ed students, students learning a second language, those subgroups that tend to be more at risk had significantly statistical growth,” Koch says.

Tina Roberts, the English Department Chair at Gresham High School tells KOIN that in order to prepare students for the test, they were taught to focus on Common Core standards as a starting point, and then work on critical thinking skills and analysis in both fiction and non-fiction.

“It’s a huge component on what they see in the written portion of the test, so we’ve tried to provide opportunities for students to encounter similar situations to what they might find of the assessment,” Roberts says.

Roberts says the school has also incorporated the college preparedness program Avid and have a school-wide Article of the Week program. They also partner with literary artists to hear authors talk about their works in person.

“We all want the very best for our students,” Roberts says.

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