Latest School Report Cards Reveal One-Third Require ‘Heavy Focus’

BY JENNIFER PALMER
Oklahoma Watch
12/02/2019 04:30 PM
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Whitney Bryen/Oklahoma Watch
Main Cherokee Phoenix
Oklahoma Watch is a nonprofit, tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) corporation whose mission is to produce in-depth and investigative journalism on public-policy and quality-of-life issues facing the state. OKLAHOMA WATCH
A third of schools across the state dropped one letter grade on report cards released Monday by the state Board of Education.

The report cards for the 2018-19 school year show about half of Oklahoma schools remained steady and 15% improved.  

Oklahoma’s top education official said the 33% of schools that dropped a letter will be “a place of heavy focus” for her department.

Joy Hofmeister, state superintendent of public instruction, encouraged leaders at those schools to ensure they are teaching students based on the science of reading, and using benchmarking tools that align to state standards.   

“We can’t continue to do things the way we used to. We have high expectations now,” Hofmeister said.   

Achieving high marks on the cards gets tougher each year and schools had to demonstrate improvement just to keep their prior grade.   

In all, 54 schools received an overall grade of A, 292 schools received a B, 579 schools a C, 458 schools a D, and 111 schools an F.   

The report cards assess all schools on academic achievement, chronic absenteeism and progress of English language learners; elementary schools also are graded on growth, and high schools receive additional marks for postsecondary opportunities and graduation.   

The report cards, as well as the academic standards being measured, have undergone a complete overhaul under the direction of Hofmeister. The first iteration of the report cards was released in February for the 2017-18 school year.   

Academic achievement declined in all tested grades in 2018-19.   

There were several bright spots. The state’s four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate improved to 83.6%, from 82.9%. Gains were made in postsecondary opportunities.   

Also, academic growth improved for students in third through eighth grades.  

“In any system built on continuous improvement… individual student growth is the first sign of success moving forward. These gains indicate we are laying the foundation for future gains at the school, district and state level,” Hofmeister said.   

The report cards can be found at www.oklaschools.com.

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