Testing

Robby Korth / StateImpact Oklahoma

The coronavirus will change school next fall.

The Oklahoma State Department of Education has issued a series of guidelines for schools. But will we see a statewide shutdown of schools and shift to distance learning next fall like we did this spring?

Starting Monday, Advanced Placement exams, which test high schoolers' knowledge of college material, will take an unusual form. The high-anxiety, college credit tests normally last three hours and are taken in person. But this year, in response to disruptions from the coronavirus outbreak, the College Board, which administers AP exams, shortened the tests to 45 minutes and moved them online.

On Friday, the U.S. Department of Education announced new K-12 and higher education policies in response to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.

Whether they’re in a classroom or at home, Oklahoma students won’t take assessment tests this school year.

The state is pursuing a federal waiver to suspend all statewide student assessments in the midst of a statewide school closure due to COVID-19.

But, State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister said even if there’s a delay in the waiver process, state assessments will not happen this spring.

Jacob McCleland / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Updated 2:09 p.m.

It's day six of the Oklahoma teacher walkout and some students miss being in school. Administrators at Wilson Elementary in Oklahoma City arranged a play date so kids could see their friends and their teachers. StateImpact’s Emily Wendler was there.

Updated 10:05 a.m.

Emily Wendler / StateImpact Oklahoma

On the playground at Chattanooga Elementary School some kids are pretending to be pirates, a few boys are climbing on a baseball dugout, and another group is belting out the words to various pop songs as they wriggle across the monkey bars.

This is the students’ third 15-minute recess of the day, and they’ll get one more before the end of the school day in the tiny southwestern Oklahoma town of about 450.

Added up: That’s an hour of recess a day — double what these kids got two years ago, and double what most kids in America get.

Soon-to-be-released statewide test scores are expected to be much lower than they were in the past, but top education officials say the drop is due to a more difficult grading system, not poor-performing students.

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister says the state has a new way of measuring student proficiency.

“This has been a time of recalibrating,” she said in an interview after a press conference held with reporters to explain the declining scores.

 

Flickr / wfryer

The State Board of Education approved 631 emergency teaching certifications at Thursday’s board meeting, which is nearly double what the board had approved at this time last year. It brings the total number of emergency certifications to 850 for the 2017-18 school year.

Compare that to last July, when the board had issued a total of 381 emergency teaching certifications, a record number at the time.

State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister says August is typically when most of the requests for emergency certifications come in, so the number is expected to grow.

U.S. Department of Education

Oklahoma's third grade reading test is a high stakes test.

If a child fails it, and they don't meet a certain exception, they get held back.

However, for the past couple of years, lawmakers have allowed parents and teachers to consider other academic performance data when determining whether or not to retain a kid who failed the test.

Small classes. High standards. More money. These popular remedies for school ills aren't as effective as they're sometimes thought to be. That's the somewhat controversial conclusion of education researcher John Hattie.

Over his career, Hattie has scrutinized more than 1,000 "meta-analyses," looking at all types of interventions to improve learning. The studies he's examined cover a combined 250 million students around the world.

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