Testing in Oklahoma: An Overview
A GreatSchools guide to standardized tests
By GreatSchools Staff
Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2007-2008 Oklahoma used the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Tests (OCCT) to test students in grades 3 through 8 in reading and math. Students in grade 5 were also tested in writing, science and social studies. Students in grade 7 were tested in geography, and students in grade 8 were tested in writing, science and U.S. history. High school students took OCCT End-of Instruction (EOI) tests in algebra I, algebra II, English II, English III, geometry, biology I and U.S. history upon completion of each course. The OCCT is a standards-based test that measures specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Oklahoma.
How are the tests scored?
OCCT results show the level of proficiency a student demonstrates in each of the subject areas tested. Students are rated at one of four levels: unsatisfactory, limited knowledge, satisfactory or advanced. The goal is for all students to score at the level of satisfactory or above.
Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?
For each subject, the combined percentage of students scoring at and above the satisfactory level is displayed.
GreatSchools also displays subgroup results to show how different groups of students are scoring in comparison to the overall student population in a given grade and subject. These subgroups are identified by the Oklahoma State Department of Education; if there are a small number of students in a particular group in a school, data is not reported for that group.
Why do the tests matter?
Oklahoma test results provide an indication of whether students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards. While OCCT results are not used alone to determine whether students will be promoted from one grade to the next or whether they will graduate from high school, the state does use OCCT results to identify low-performing schools. High schools students are required to take OCCT EOI tests in algebra I, algebra II, biology I, English II, English III, geometry and U.S. history upon completion of each course in order to graduate. While students are not required to achieve a certain score, OCCT EOI results are reported on their high school transcripts. Students are given the opportunity to retake the tests once prior to graduation. Beginning with the freshman class of 2008-2009, students will be required to pass the algebra I and English II tests, as well as two of the other five tests, in order to graduate.
It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall score for her school. If your child scores below the standards, contact the teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home.
If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. If your child is in a failing school, ask what your options are for transferring and obtaining supplemental services.
A few parting words
Although test results can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom, they don't tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.
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