Assessment performance shows improvement after previous pandemic declines

State scores from the spring 2022 administration of the Oklahoma School Testing Program (OSTP) end-of-year assessments show students are making progress, officials from the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) announced today. The OSTP suite of assessments, administered each spring pursuant to state and federal requirements, are designed to be a snapshot measuring the degree to which Oklahoma students are learning end-of-school-year grade-level content, ensuring they are on track for success in future coursework and ultimately in their college and career pursuits.

When compared with OSTP results from spring 2021, test scores showed increases and significantly higher levels of student participation. In spring 2021, when federal waivers eliminated participation requirements nationwide due to ongoing disruptions in learning resulting from COVID-19, only 92% of Oklahoma students participated in testing. Participation rebounded to 98% in spring 2022, despite ongoing COVID-related challenges. (Testing rates of 95% and above are indicative of strong representation across all student groups and performance levels.)

Oklahoma’s end-of-year assessments are scored to indicate four levels of student performance – Below Basic, Basic, Proficient and Advanced – that measure progress toward meeting the expectations of the Oklahoma Academic Standards for each grade level and subject and readiness for the next grade, course or level.

  • Below Basic indicates that students have not performed at least at the basic level and need targeted supports and interventions to master grade-level content. Students at this performance level are not on track for college and career success.
  • Students scoring at the Basic level demonstrate partial mastery of grade-level content and may not be on track for college or career success.
  • Proficient students demonstrate mastery over even the most challenging grade-level content and are ready for the next grade, course or level of education. These students are on track for college or career success.
  • Advanced students demonstrate superior performance on challenging grade-level content and are on track for college and career success.

Performance on the state summative assessments in spring 2022 shows that overall, students have begun to recover unfinished learning resulting from pandemic-related disruptions. Of the 17 assessments in grades 3-8 and 11 in three subjects (English language arts, mathematics and science), students scoring Proficient and Advanced increased in all but two areas – 11th-grade math, which saw a slight decrease in scores, and 8th-grade science, which dipped 2.58%. The highest gains were in 11th-grade English language arts (8.47%), fifth-grade science (5.34%) and fourth-grade math (4.83%).

2022 Assessment Data

“Spring 2021 test results created a new baseline for student performance reflective of more than a year of pandemic disruptions to public education nationwide. The spring 2022 scores show that our students are turning a corner in academic achievement,” said State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister. “In light of more than two school years of COVID-related instructional challenges and interruptions, these results show that local and statewide recovery and academic acceleration investments are clearly having a positive impact. These are encouraging results representing the hard work of our teachers, students and families.”

Among all students, 68.5% maintained or improved their knowledge of mathematics content, while 73.1% maintained or improved their English language arts content knowledge. (Maintaining content knowledge from one grade to the next is considered progress because students’ grade-level expectations increase over time.) In statewide examinations of performance, the percentage of students who scored Proficient or Advanced in math increased from 22% to 25%, in ELA from 25% to 27% and in science from 30% to 31%.

No single assessment is indicative of the depth and breadth of student achievement, but statewide summative assessments are useful in understanding the progress students are making on grade-level expectations within the academic standards for their grade and subject and how schools and districts can best support students and teachers. The 2022 data reveals how schools have responded to more than two school years of COVID-related challenges.

In response to those challenges, in May 2021 the OSDE launched Ready Together Oklahoma: An Action Plan for Supporting Students Through the Pandemic and Beyond, the state’s COVID-19 educational recovery plan. Overall, the OSDE has invested $232 million in federal pandemic relief from three tranches of funding in a host of initiatives to help students recapture unfinished learning. These include $35 million for a School Counselor Corps, which has added 300 school counselors and school-based mental health professionals in schools; $6 million for a Classroom Learning and School Supplies (CLASS) Grant, which provided hand-picked learning tools and school supplies to 7,500 Oklahoma teachers in 1,411 schools at 462 districts; $13 million for Science of Reading Academies to provide up to 10,000 pre-kindergarten through third-grade teachers sustained, job-embedded professional learning to improve student literacy; and $5 million to the Math Tutoring Corps, which offers intensive, high-dosage tutoring for up to 3,500 7th- through 9th-grade students to reinforce the problem-solving and math skills they are studying in class and prepare them for higher-level coursework.