And excerpt from the newsOK article.
Q&A: Education data suggests top 10 state is possible
How can Gov. Kevin Stitt’s business approach affect public education?
It’s clear Gov. Stitt is intent on data-driven change in our schools. The data already exists. We know that Oklahoma’s education system ranks 48th in the nation for K-12 Achievement, according to Education Week. These rankings come out every year. Every year, we shake our collective heads in disappointment and then continue down the road. You know the old saying: “If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.” I think people are ready for something new. The key to success will be effective use of existing data. If we do that right, we can be Top Ten.
What is Alpha Plus, and how do schools use your data?
We’ve been working with schools in Oklahoma since 1990. Our schools are successful for three reasons: first, Alpha Plus is Oklahoma-based, and our curriculum and other tools are aligned to Oklahoma standards. Our schools do not use Common Core, which is failing school districts across the country. Second, we assess our curriculum and then measure and report, in real time, what was taught to help students attain mastery of each required skill. Our data shows us what works — and what doesn’t. We help teachers adjust accordingly. And third, we use data to identify and improve instruction for every child so they may reach their potential academically. Our data gives teachers a roadmap for helping students catch up and even exceed expectations.
According to the data, where are the biggest areas of opportunity for growth?
We’ve seen growth in schools of all sizes. Bishop, Carnegie, Central High and Flower Mound have all utilized Alpha Plus to grow from low-performing schools to being National Blue Ribbon Schools, earning recognition for success in reading and math. Of note — in 2016, nearly 50 percent of low-performing schools in Oklahoma were in Oklahoma City and Tulsa Public School Districts, despite the fact those districts make up about 12 percent of overall student population. There’s real progress to be made by focusing in on student performance in every school.
Are you talking about teaching to the test?
Good teachers use the standards as the foundation for building their lesson plans. There are no copies of the national test to “teach to.” I’m talking about teaching to master the content required by the state and being accountable to the potential of each child. When teachers understand how to use data to help students reach our new, much-higher state standards, we will improve in national rankings. We work with teachers who do this for their students every year. When education is truly the state’s priority, Oklahoma can rank in the top 10.