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State Department of Education Looking at How Testing Will Factor into School Report Cards This Year

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Oklahoma Watch
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While state testing for the current year is on for now, its impact on Oklahoma school report cards is up in the air.

Deputy Superintendent of Assessment and Accountability Maria Harris said in a statewide COVID update last week while the Oklahoma State Department of Education wants data from testing, they know it will not be as reliable because of the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

"You know, 40% of our system is made up of test scores, and so we are going to have to take all of this into consideration when we think about any sort of performance metrics. And so, when we’ve been working with our technical advisory committee and other technical experts, we’ve really been navigating this as, ‘Of course we’re not going to be able to look at academic growth the same way because we didn’t have 2020, and 2021 might look a lot different.’ Same thing with our academic achievement indicator," Harris said.

So far, there has not been discussion of a standardized testing federal waiver for a second straight year. But there are issues to address. For example, federal law requires states test 95% of students and 95% of each subgroup in every school in English and math — benchmarks that may be difficult to hit if it’s not safe for students to be in schools come spring.

"At this point, we are really trying to navigate, you know, one day at a time and hope that we can administer the assessments. You know, we don’t know how many assessments will be able to be given. Our participation rate might look a little different. School sites might look a little different, even within a district," Harris said.

Last month, the State Board of Education approved changes to Oklahoma's state testing window to allow three additional weeks for many assessments. That would allow schools to have students test in smaller groups, making it easier to keep them socially distanced.

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