FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Dec. 21, 2020
CONTACT: Jan Barrick or Rachel Watson, (405) 842-8408, or Wendy Pratt, (405) 437-8204
OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - When the Oklahoma State Board of Education approved suspending school report card grades this school year because of the disruption of COVID-19, the context and consequences were clear to a local expert in assessment and school improvement.
“Since state test scores comprise about three-fourths of any school’s report card grade, it makes sense the state would not make A-F calculations,” explained Jan Barrick, CEO of Alpha Plus Educational Systems.
“However, this decision makes federally required tests of the Oklahoma Academic Standards this April more critical than ever to students’ academic success next year.”
A consistent measure of student achievement is valuable and can provide actionable measures of learning loss for students. Teachers and parents need access to individual student data to identify “learning gaps,” or the knowledge and skills students have missed since the pandemic started.
School administrators, board members and patrons in every community also need to understand what the data says about ongoing efforts to improve public education in the state.
“Whether it is because of the pandemic or individual medical issues, ice storms or summer vacation, identifying learning gaps for each student is a key challenge all educators face,” Barrick said. “Certainly, that is more challenging today, but it is not new.”
Each fall, effective educators study state test data to analyze summer learning loss. This year the gaps are larger because of missed school days. This makes identifying and addressing learning loss even more important.
“Children do not stop learning. Teachers do not stop working to help their students grow their success. The essential role of education is our inspiration for developing tools over the past 30 years that help them succeed,” Barrick said. “We will get through this together.”
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Alpha Plus curriculum is written by Oklahoma teachers for Oklahoma students and to the Oklahoma Academic Standards. Alpha Plus provides training, assessments and other resources for schools statewide. The small business in Oklahoma City was founded by a teacher in 1990. Learn more about Alpha Plus at www.alphaplus.org.