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Lower state test results will reflect higher standards

posted Oct 9, 2017, 10:42 AM by Granger Meador   [ updated Oct 16, 2017, 8:37 AM ]

On October 11, 2017 the State Department of Education finally released the 2016-2017 assessment results to school districts. Allowing time for review and interpretation, Bartlesville and other area school districts plan to release their district-level results on October 17, 2017.

The Department has warned that there will be a significant drop in the number of students reported as Proficient or Advanced due to higher state standards, more complex assessments, and higher cut scores.

It is important for students, parents, and the public to know that:
  • The expected decrease will NOT mean our students are less skilled or our schools or teachers are less effective. Instead, it will reflect how Oklahoma’s scores have been recalibrated to align with national data and assessments.
  • The 2016-2017 state results represent a new beginning and are a TOTAL RESET; no comparison is possible with student or school performance in past years.
The chart below shows how the previous proficiency rates from Oklahoma’s state tests were much higher than those from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). We expect the new state assessment results to be similar to the state’s previous NAEP results.

Oklahoma vs. national scores

More complex assessments were given in the spring of 2017 with new standards requiring higher "depths of knowledge", with much more demanding questions, and more demanding "cut scores" have been set to categorize students' performance as:
  • Advanced
  • Proficient
  • Limited Knowledge (Basic, Developing)
  • Unsatisfactory (Below Basic, Beginning/Emerging)
Oklahoma joins 44 other states which have raised their standards since 2011. Utah and Arizona, which previously had proficiency rates similar to Oklahoma’s, saw those rates drop dramatically once national benchmarks were applied. These changes reflect a priority that the state assessments provide better information on students’ career and college readiness.

The state has raised the bar even as the legislature has repeatedly failed to provide adequate school funding. We are thankful that local voters have supported bond issues and call upon the legislature to now do its part in providing the resources needed to meet the new higher standards. State Superintendent Hofmeister recently remarked about legislators who demand “reform” in exchange for improved funding, “The message is ‘We are not going to fund more for education and teacher pay raises without reform.’ What has just occurred is more sweeping than anything that has happened in recent years. My message (to lawmakers) is: Catch up.”
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Granger Meador,
Oct 9, 2017, 10:42 AM