Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA)

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In early 2010, Oregon became the first state to formally adopt portions of the National Evaluation Series (NES) suite of examinations from Pearson, Inc. for teacher licensure.[1] Prior to this, Oregon had used a mixture of custom Oregon Educator Licensure Assessments (ORELA) examinations, examinations from other states such as the CBEST and WEST-B,[2] and Praxis examinations from Educational Testing Service (ETS) for teacher licensure assessments.[3] As of 2015, almost all of the pre-2010 examinations have been retired from use in favor of NES examinations.[3][4] Although Oregon's teacher certification examination system is now nearly identical to the NES, it retains its own identity (ORELA) due to its generally stricter passing scores, its lack of a professional knowledge exam requirement, and its continued use of a handful of custom non-NES examinations.

Function of the Test

ORELA Study Guide

ORELA is the state of Oregon's suite of assessments for candidates for teaching licensure.

The ORELA suite of examinations comprises 30 examinations. Twenty-eight of the examinations are National Evaluation Series (NES) examination, while two exams- the Administrator exam and the Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment exam- are custom tests specific to the state of Oregon.[4]

As of 2012, in addition to the exams in the ORELA suite, Oregon still used a limited number of Praxis examinations from ETS for specific subjects such as Communication Disorders, Agricultural Science and Technology, and Technology Education. However, these examinations fall outside of the ORELA system, and Oregon has been phasing out Praxis examinations since 2009.[3] For example, Oregon still used the Praxis subject exam for German in 2012,[3] but as of 2015, it uses the ORELA/NES subject exam for German.[4]

Candidates for teaching licensure must pass three types of examinations: a Civil Rights exam; a Basic Skills exam; and a Subject Mastery exam.[3]

Oregon does not appear to publish statewide pass rates or scoring ranges for the ORELA examinations.

Test Administration

ORELA Flashcards

All tests within the ORELA system, both NES and non-NES exams, are computer-based exams given by appointment at Pearson VUE testing centers.[4]

Almost all ORELA exams are from the NES suite of examinations. Most NES exams are multiple-choice only. However, five NES exams administered in Oregon require at least one constructed response such as an essay: Essential Academic Skills Subtest II: Writing; Chinese (Mandarin); French; German; and Spanish.[5]

Oregon's two non-NES examinations are the Civil Rights exam and the Administrator exam. The Civil Rights exam costs $95 to take. It comprises 60 multiple-choice questions and has a passing score of 240 on a scale from 100 to 300.[6] The Administrator exam is divided into two subtests, each of which costs $95 to take. Each subtest comprises 60 multiple-choice questions and has a passing score of 240 on a scale from 100 to 300.[7]

Most NES examinations, such as the professional knowledge and subject area assessments, cost $95 each. The Essential Academic Skills examination, however, is divided into four subsections which may be taken separately. The cost for the full exam is $125, whereas it costs $50, $75, or $100 to take just one, two, or three sections of the exam, respectively.[8] All NES examinations are scored on a standardized scale from 100 to 300 points. The "National Benchmark" passing score for every exam is 220; however, Oregon's passing score is often more stringent than the national benchmark. For example, on the English Language Arts exam, Oregon's passing score is 236 rather than the national benchmark passing score of 220.[9][10] Candidates are encouraged to review Oregon's passing score for each NES exam the candidate plans to take.[4]

Unsuccessful candidates must wait at least 60 days between examinations. Note that Oregon's 60-day waiting period is stricter than Pearson's national 30-day waiting period for NES exams. Candidates must take care not to violate Oregon's 60-day waiting period, regardless of Pearson's own policy.[11][12]

Candidates with disabilities who require special testing accommodations must submit an Alternative Testing Arrangements Request Form to Pearson as early as possible in advance of the intended testing date.[13]

Test Format

Test Content

  • Sample ORELA Elementary Education Practice Questions
  1. Why would it be ethical for local and state governments to conduct a risk-benefit analysis in making decisions about city planning and development?
    A. Governments must know what the benefits of a new development are for people and the economy in order to persuade opponents and the public who are against it.
    B. Knowledge of the environmental risks and benefits to humans is required for gaining building permits.
    C. The benefits to people and the economy must outweigh the risks to determine whether their decision to build is fair.
    D. The benefits to people and the economy can be used to ignore the risks associated with any new development.
  2. In which taxonomic group are organisms most alike?
    A. Phylum
    B. Family
    C. Class
    D. Order
  • Sample ORELA Essential Academic Skills Practice Questions
  1. Amnesia, a ________ disorder in which a person loses long-term or short-term memeories, can result from brain damage such as tumors.
    A. prerogative
    B. rational
    C. hidden
    D. cognitive
  2. The cambium, a layer of _______ tissue between the bark and wood of trees, gives rise to new growth through cell division.
    A. redactive
    B. generative
    C. inactive
    D. reproductive
  • Sample ORELA Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment Practice Questions
  1. What is true about the attitude that, in America, given public education, anybody who tries hard enough can succeed?
    A. This attitude is not common in America or in other contries
    B. This attitude encourages low-income people to be successful
    C. This attitude cause misconceptions about low-income people
    D. This attitude has no particular effects upon low-income people
  2. Which of the following is accurate regarding ways for educators to develop inclusiveness in school settings?
    A. Approachable educators invite disrespect from students
    B. The type of physical environment does not affect inclusion
    C. Inclusion is not affected by student attitudes to assessments
    D. Celebrating all successes makes supportive school environments
  • Sample ORELA Middle Grades Mathematics Practice Questions
  1. In the base-5 number system, what is the sum of 303 and 2222?
    A. 2030
    B. 2525
    C. 3030
    D. 3530
  2. Mandy can buy 4 containers of yogurt and 3 boxes of crackers for $9.55. She can buy 2 containers of yogurt and 2 boxes of crackers for $5.90. How much does one box of crackers cost?
    A. $1.75
    B. $2.00
    C. $2.25
    D. $2.50

Answers to Sample Questions

Elementary Education: 1;C 2;B Essential Academic Skills: 1;D 2;B Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment: 1;C 2;D Middle Grades Mathematics: 1;C 2;C


  1. ^ Pearson - Oregon Adopts Pearson's New Contemporary, Computer-Based Teacher Certification Tests August 2 2015
  2. ^ ORELA - About the ORELA (2008-2009) August 6 2015
  3. ^ a b c d e Oregon Teacher Standards and Practices Commission - Tests Required in Oregon August 6 2015
  4. ^ a b c d e ORELA - Tests August 6 2015
  5. ^ Pearson - Understanding Your Test Results August 2 2015
  6. ^ ORELA - Protecting Student and Civil Rights in the Educational Environment August 6 2015
  7. ^ ORELA - Administrator August 6 2015
  8. ^ Pearson - Tests August 2 2015
  9. ^ Pearson - How to Read your NES Score Report August 2 2015
  10. ^ ORELA - English Language Arts August 6 2015
  11. ^ ORELA - Retake Policy August 6 2015
  12. ^ Pearson - How to Read your NES Score Report August 2 2015
  13. ^ ORELA - Requesting Alternative Testing Arrangements August 6 2015