Dozens of Oregon schools slid backwards on the state's annual report card, released Thursday. But officials are saying student achievement is actually improving.

Like the federal education report released earlier this year, tougher standards imposed for last school year were too much for many schools. Schools rated "outstanding" fell from 37-percent to 28-percent. Schools rated at the lowest level rose from four percent to eight. Crystal Greene is a spokeswoman for the state Department of Education. She says when student test scores are compared against the old standards, they did better. But the bar got higher.

"Kids really are rising to the challenge, they just haven't necessarily gotten there all in one year," Greene said.

High schools had an additional hurdle this time around. Now, Oregon is using only the more rigorous "cohort" rate to compute high school graduation. It measures how many young people who were freshmen four or five years ago, now have a diploma.

Read more on news.opb.org.

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