Oklahoma among top states in national comparability for academic expectations

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OKLAHOMA CITY (Aug. 21, 2019) – A national report released today shows Oklahoma has made significant strides in expectations for student academic proficiency in reading and mathematics, and is among the highest states in strong expectations for 8th-grade mathematics.

According to the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), known as the Nation’s Report Card, Oklahoma’s 2016 adoption of more challenging academic standards has significantly narrowed the gap for national comparability in expectations for student performance.

“Higher expectations for what our students should know and achieve are positioning Oklahoma to be a Top 10 state academically,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction. “By setting the bar high for academic proficiency, we have catapulted from one of the lowest positions nationally on the NAEP study to the top one-third of states. We can now say with confidence that our expectations for kids are setting them up to be nationally competitive for college and the workforce by the time they graduate high school.”

The NAEP study, which maps the alignment of eligible states’ academic standards with proficiency on the Nation’s Report Card for grades 4 and 8, shows dramatic improvement in Oklahoma from 2015 to 2017. In 2015, under Oklahoma’s now-defunct Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) academic standards, the state was in the bottom quarter of eligible states in the tested subject areas of reading and math. In the new study, based on 2017 data, Oklahoma saw double-digit jumps in equivalency to NAEP’s rigorous proficient and above performance level. In 8th-grade math, only four states’ proficiency expectations were higher than Oklahoma’s.

2017 NAEP 8th grade math

To compare Oklahoma’s NAEP-equivalent scores for proficient performance from 2015 and 2017, view the 2015 NAEP mapping report and the 2017 NAEP mapping report.

Hofmeister attributed the change to the 2016 adoption of new Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) for English language arts and mathematics after the repeal of Common Core. Drafts of the standards were reviewed by thousands of Oklahoma classroom teachers, curriculum specialists, parents, legislators, business professionals and members of the public who participated in multiple rounds of public comment.

In 2018, an Education Next analysis ranked Oklahoma’s new standards one of only 17 “A” grades in the nation, up from the previous rank of 47th and a grade of “D.”

“Before our academic standards were revised, we could not be assured our students would be able to perform academically on par with other states,“ said Hofmeister. “NAEP provides the link needed to compare assessment results and achievement gains across states. In Oklahoma, this means all students who demonstrate proficiency are on track to be ready for college and career without need for remediation.

“The results of the NAEP mapping study confirm our belief that Oklahoma students can compete with kids anywhere in the country, and represent thousands of hours of effort on the part of teachers who are committed to giving them every opportunity for a successful future. This is a huge accomplishment – and confirms that we were on the right track when Oklahoma redefined proficiency for our students.”

Building upon the rigorous OAS model, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) added the subject areas of computer science and social studies to its suite of new academic standards in 2018 and 2019. OSDE is currently conducting the review and revision process for its standards in science and fine arts. Both are set to be presented to the Oklahoma State Board of Education as well as the Legislature for consideration in early 2020.

Download the NAEP study here.