All over the United States, while our college age students are putting the finishing touches on projects and cramming for final exams, school age children are taking national and state writing assessment exams. How does Oklahoma compare? Unfortunately, the outcome seems bleak.
Oklahoma and nine other states recently received an F in academic achievement. Here are just a few salient points from the Nation’s Report Card. For more details, go to uschamber.com/reportcard.
- From 1998 to 2005, a period with intensive, high-cost statewide reading initiatives, our scores dropped 5% – Only one other state saw its score drop over this 7-year period
- 30% of our students drop out – a big reason why most drop out may be tied to the fact that few 8th graders are ready to move on to 9th grade math – they simply cannot catch up!
- Our state tests say that 8th graders are 81% proficient in reading, and 76% proficient in math — Yet, national tests show true profiency rates of 25% and 21% respectively. These are the widest state versus national discrepancies of any state in the nation!
- “C” in Education Funding — our state has a fraction of the state budget of many states ($7.3 billion)
- “F” in Truth in Advertising — Only one other state earned an “F” in truthfulness. We are continually told that our schools are doing fine, or are at least improving.
- ACT scores are below average and the gap is widening. Only 17% of high school graduates are ready for college in all areas.
Let’s not become complacent by fooling ourselves into believing Oklahoma is doing well by “dumbing down” state scores and lowering PASS objective cutoff scores. Last year, college freshmen spent $15 million for remedial (high school level) courses. The state must address raising standards and providing a clearer picture on assessment and accountability.