Understanding New Oklahoma Academic Standards and Assessments
In the 2016-17 school year, Oklahoma schools began teaching more comprehensive academic standards in order to track students’ college and career readiness and to align with national benchmarks like the ACT, SAT, and NAEP (National Assessment of Educational Progress).
The new assessments given to students in the spring of 2017 represent a TOTAL RESET. No comparison is possible with student or school performance in past years.
Results from the 2017 assessments will become the baseline for student and school performance as the Oklahoma State Department of Education continues its efforts to position every student on the leading edge of success.
“As we continue to prepare our students to join a rapidly changing workforce and equip them with the skills needed to compete for jobs, these new standards and assessments will give us valuable insight into how we can make our schools even stronger,” said Dr. Stacey Butterfield, Superintendent of Jenks Public Schools. “We have set, and will continue to set high expectations for our students, our teachers, and our staff members.”
WHY DID THE STANDARDS CHANGE?
The intent of the new standards is to better prepare Oklahoma students for 21st century careers and help students compete for jobs in the rapidly changing global workforce. The following numbers give evidence as to why changing state standards is so important.
- In 2015, 46 percent of jobs in Oklahoma were available to those with only a high school diploma. By 2025, only 23 percent of jobs in Oklahoma will be available to those who do not pursue education beyond high school.
- Only one percent of jobs created since 2008 went to workers with a high school diploma or less.
New, more comprehensive standards will benefit students and schools. The assessments of the new standards will provide a clearer picture of how students in Oklahoma compare to students from across the country. Rather than simply recalling facts and figures, students will be challenged to be problem solvers, innovators, and critical thinkers. In addition, making the assessments more meaningful on a national scale will allow school districts to better identify areas of growth and improvement.
WHY WILL TEST SCORES LOOK DIFFERENT?
Students in 3rd grade through 8th grade took new tests that are fundamentally different from previous years. This year is a TOTAL RESET and should not be compared to other years.
The standards are more comprehensive, and the assessments are more complex. In the past students were described as proficient if they demonstrated basic grade-level skills. Under the new descriptors, students are considered proficient if they are on track to be college and career ready. The number of students who perform at the Proficient or Advanced level will likely decline because previous scores were determined without a national comparison and were therefore useful only to compare students within Oklahoma.
To see a lower score does not mean a student’s level of intelligence has dropped. A lower percentage of proficient students simply means expectations have changed now that standards and assessments are aligned with ACT, SAT, and NAEP to reflect college and career readiness.
These scores DO NOT indicate that students are less intelligent or that teachers, schools, or districts are less effective. The scores DO reflect student performance against a national yardstick and the increased expectations of a changing job market.
WHEN WILL INDIVIDUAL SCORES BE RECEIVED?
Parents and guardians can expect to receive scores for their student or students in early December.