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Bill Axing Oklahoma End-Of-Instruction Tests Clears Panel

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oksenate.gov
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The state Senate Education Committee voted unanimously to eliminate the end-of-instruction tests that high school students take in order to graduate.

High school students currently have to pass 4 out of 7 end of instruction exams in order to fulfill their graduation requirement. But under Senate Bill 1170, these state-mandated tests would go away and school districts could choose their own assessment, provided it is approved by the State Board of Education.

Sen. John Ford, the bill's author, says eliminating the end-of-instruction tests will save millions of dollars and will help address the concern that students are over tested. He says it will also give teachers more time for classroom instruction.

“One of the biggest complaints has been that teachers don’t have time to focus on teaching the curriculum because they’ve had to prepare students for too many high stakes tests,” Ford says. “By eliminating the EOI exams, teachers and students can focus on the classes. This also ensures greater local control for the districts.”

Ford says the State Board of Education would work with Higher Education and CareerTech to publish a list of approved assessments that would comply with the Every Student Succeeds Act and measure mastery of the state’s subject matter standards. The state would pay for the exams.

“Each district would choose which of those exams students would take by the end of their senior year. It could be something like the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, SAT, or the ACT, something most students already take, but currently, parents must pay for,” Ford said. “This will save parents money, but because these standardized tests are much less expensive than developing exams specifically for just Oklahoma, taxpayers will also see a significant savings.”

The bill now goes to the full Senate floor.

Emily Wendler was KOSU's education reporter from 2015 to 2019.
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