State Board of Education suspends School Report Card letter grades for 2020-21 school year

Oklahoma State Department of Education

The Oklahoma State Board of Education today approved a one-year suspension of the Oklahoma School Report Card letter grades for the 2020-21 school year. State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said the move is necessary in light of the significant disruptions in instruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

States across the nation have been exploring the impact of COVID-19 on their respective school accountability systems since the Spring of 2020. Hofmeister said it has become clear that the abrupt end to the 2019-20 school year and tumult of the current school year made it necessary to disentangle accountability from the administering of assessments this spring.

“The reality of 2020 impedes our ability to provide the public with information that can be used to compare school’s progress year over year. We are committed to providing schools and the public with actionable, meaningful and transparent data – and that relies on credible trend data that can be used to make valid inferences about school quality and performance,” said Hofmeister.

“Our priority is to now provide schools with as much information as we can on how students may have been impacted when compared to grade-level expectations, with an emphasis on the impact to students most at risk of falling behind academically.”

Students will still take federally required tests during the spring. While assessment results will not factor into the report card, they will help inform how students have been impacted academically and what supports are needed. Academic assessments are given in English language arts, mathematics and science for grades 3-8, as well as the ACT or SAT to high school juniors.

The board voted unanimously to approve the measure.

In other action, the Board of Education unanimously approved giving districts the opportunity to request a waiver to the qualitative evaluation portion of the Teacher and Leader Effectiveness (TLE) system. The professional learning requirement of the TLE system remains in place.

“COVID-19 has impacted accountability on many levels. Right now, districts are finding it challenging to complete the observations and evaluations,” said Hofmeister. “This optional waiver will relieve pressure on the districts as they navigate this pandemic and keep their focus on supporting students.”