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Patting Yourself on the Back

July 26, 2012

Shortly after noon today, the SDE sent out this release explaining that test scores in Oklahoma are on the rise and are an indication that the ACE reforms implemented in 2005 are making a difference. In her remarks, Superintendent Barresi goes out of her way twice in the same paragraph to praise teachers for their hard work.

The release also calls the ACE exams “one of the most important indicators for college readiness” and points out that scores have been rising on the exams for several years. Let me go ahead and state the obvious then: it seems schools were on the right track two years ago when she was going all over the state campaigning and saying how badly schools were doing. And let me point out another obvious point: increases in ACE exam scores don’t correspond at all with performance on the ACT or SAT – indicators also cited by this administration (when it serves them) to point out the lack of college readiness.

She ties the gains to the ACE graduation requirements and makes the logical leap to saying, “This shows the need to press forward with our new third-grade graduation reading requirements next year, as well as our emphasis on science, literacy and math.” As this release went out, and as I write at this moment, the State Board of Education had convened into executive session to discuss graduation appeals for more than 80 students. This is the third board meeting with graduation appeals on the agenda, and this is the third different method the Board has used in listing the appeals for the public. It seems they’re still trying to zero in on an efficient way to manage the process without violating FERPA.

All of this leads me to another obvious statement: test results released today indicate that 72 percent of students passed the third grade reading test. While the rules adopted by the state board allow schools to promote students to fourth grade if they received a score of limited knowledge, proficient, or advanced, it’s pretty clear that we’re going to be looking at a lot more third grade retentions than we are ACE graduation appeals. I sure hope they get FERPA figured out before May 2014, when parents of third graders start swarming board meetings.

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  1. July 26, 2012 at 8:51 pm
  2. July 28, 2012 at 8:17 am
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