EDUCATION OVERSIGHT BOARD RELEASES SCHOOL REPORT CARDS, DISTRICT REPORTS, STATE REPORT AND COMMENDS HIGH PERFORMING SCHOOLS; CHAIRMAN CALLS TEST RESULTS A WAKE-UP CALL FOR STATE, SAYS BOARD WILL DEVELOP A PROPOSAL FOR SYSTEM-WIDE REFORM AND IMPROVEMENT; COMMENTS ON END-OF-INSTRUCTION TEST RESULTS, ACT RESULTS, AND STATEWIDE STUDENT LOSS RATES
Contact: Robert Buswell or Matt Hesser (405) 225-9470
July 9, 2004
|OKLAHOMA CITY - In a release today of the Oklahoma Educational Indicators Program's School Report Cards, the Education Oversight Board (EOB) commended 142 Elementary Schools and 19 K-8 Elementary, Middle, and Junior High Schools for successfully reaching the board's 70% Performance Benchmark on standardized tests during the 2002-2003 school year. The board reserved it highest praise for the 57 Elementary Schools and 2 Middle Schools that have been "Benchmark Schools" for each of the past five years. In addition, the EOB recognized a total of 339 Elementary Schools and 52 K-8 Elementary, Middle, and Junior High Schools for having met the board's benchmark at least once during the past five-year period (see attached lists). To make the lists, a school must have 70% or more of their students scoring at least "Satisfactory" in all subject areas of the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests.
The state-mandated criterion-referenced tests are administered in fifth and eighth grade and include Reading, Writing, Math, Science, Geography, the Arts, and U.S. History, Constitution and Government. Older students were tested using the End-of-Instruction (EOI) exams for English II, U.S. History, Algebra I, and Biology I. The English and history tests have been administered for the last three years while the math and science tests were introduced to students for the first time in 2002-03. Students take the End-of Instruction tests when they finish the specified coursework, so advanced students may test in 8th grade, most of the students take most of the tests in 9th or 10th grade, and still other students may take a tested subject during their junior or senior year.
"An interesting observation to come out of the End-of-Instruction testing is the varying performance of Algebra I students," commented Robert Buswell, Executive Director of the Office of Accountability. "If we look at the statewide performance of all of the students that took the Algebra I test we see that only 22% of them were able to score "Satisfactory or Above." But if we dig a little deeper, we find that of the 5,536 students that took the test in 8th grade, 54% of them were able to score at least "Satisfactory." However, the 36,069 students in grades higher than 8th didn't fare as well, with only 17% being able to score "Satisfactory or Above."
"While I am pleased to be recognizing the high performing schools, my real concern is for the performance of the schools that didn't make the list," said Don McCorkell, Chairman of the Education Oversight Board. "The results from the statewide testing program, especially in Algebra I, should be a wake-up call for public education in Oklahoma. Having only 22% of the Regular Education students able to score "Satisfactory" or above on the Algebra I test is simply unacceptable," said McCorkell. "I believe the entire board shares my concern over these test results. We have begun work on a proposal for system-wide reform and improvement. I think a key factor toward achieving improved student performance would have to include an improved testing program and a strong professional development system for teachers and administrators. Teachers need to understand how to make use of test results and school principals must be prepared to serve as instructional, as well as administrative leaders, commented McCorkell. "We're in the formulating stages right now and we'll have more to talk about in August."
"Another observation to come out of this year's reporting is that the highest performing high schools are not necessarily in the large suburban districts," reports Robert Buswell. "The large suburban districts fall into our B1 community group and their average score on the ACT was 21.8, while the statewide average for all public schools was 20.5. The state's highest performing high schools, however, are in the C1 community group consisting of Bartlesville, Enid, Jenks, Mustang, Owasso, Sand Springs, Stillwater, and Yukon. This group's average score was 22.3." Buswell added, "The high schools in the C1 group even had a slightly higher participation rate on the ACT."
"The Education Oversight Board is also concerned about Oklahoma's statewide student loss rate," said Don McCorkell. "While our neighboring states have similar or even higher loss rates, it still greatly troubles the EOB that 27% of Oklahoma's common education students are lost to the system between 9th grade and graduation." Breaking the rate down by race and gender makes the picture look even worse; loss rates of 29% for white males, 32% for Hispanic females, 34% for black females, 42% for Hispanic males, and 46% for black males are sobering numbers," commented McCorkell.
"We need more of this kind of in-depth analysis," said State Senator Penny Williams, board member and Chair of the Senate Education Committee. "A much greater understanding of the performance of our state's educational system may be gained from reading these reports. I know they are of great interest to parents, patrons, school administrators, and teachers," said Williams. "These are valuable tools for educational stakeholders and the Office of Accountability should be commended for its fine work."
"The Office of Accountability prepares the annual reports for the Education Oversight Board at three levels; state, district, and school," said Robert Buswell. "Together, the office provides over 100 statistics regarding the community characteristics, programs, curriculum, budget, and student performance, of Oklahoma's public schools. This is the most comprehensive, consistent, and accurate reference source for Oklahoma educational statistics that exist. During the past nine years over five million report cards have been distributed to parents through the Educational Indicators Program.
"We have been producing report cards and statistical reports for nine years now and the district report is the office's most comprehensive work," indicated Buswell. "From the very beginning we have had a community grouping model that facilitates comparing one district to other peer districts," Buswell explained. "The model considers both district size and district socio-economics and places districts into one of 16 possible groups. We feel that comparing districts within the same community group yields the most fair comparisons and it is our hope that the lesser performing districts of a group might contact the better performing districts and obtain "best practices" that can be employed to better serve their similar community and student body."
"The Office of Accountability serves as a clearinghouse for education data and we share information with anyone that requests it," explained Buswell. "The office has become the "One-Stop-Shop" for educational statistics. Grant writers use our material extensively and bring millions of additional dollars in to Oklahoma public schools. With the addition of 2002-2003's information there will be seven year's worth of Educational Indicator data available on our web site and we have had over 380,000 school report cards downloaded since we began the site. We are very pleased with the way the program has been received and believe its success is the result of delivering consistent, high quality information and providing superior customer service."
The School Report Cards, District Reports, and State Report are all available on-line at www.SchoolReportCard.org. The report cards are printed and mailed to principals each spring in order that they may distribute copies to parents and patrons by the end of each school year.
For more information about the Oklahoma Educational Indicators Program or "Profiles 2003" contact the Office of Accountability at (405) 225-9470 or visit www.SchoolReportCard.org.
Lists of schools meeting 70% Performance Benchmark in all subject areas tested for the 2002-2003 school year have been included with this release. Lists report 5th grade information by county, district, and school name; 5th grade information by the number of years schools have met the benchmark over the past five-year period; 8th grade information by county, district, and school name; and 8th grade information by the number of years schools have met the benchmark over the past five-year period.