On Thursday, September 30, the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OKSDE) released finalized state test scores from the 2020-2021 school year. Students across the state took part in the Oklahoma State Testing Program (OSTP) last spring. While there are bright spots in the results, Edmond, like districts across the state, experienced a decrease in scores which is to be expected following two tumultuous years in education caused by the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Last spring, students in Grades 3-8 took assessments in math and English language arts (ELA) and students in Grades 5 and 8 took assessments in science. Students in Grade 11 took a state-developed science assessment as well as the ACT to fulfill high school testing requirements.
There are positive outcomes from the results. Many EPS students made gains, which is nothing short of extraordinary during a pandemic when a large part of instruction took place using remote learning. In addition, at 20 of the 24 elementary and middle school sites, 95% of students took the OSTP tests. This is a remarkable level of participation during a pandemic when a federal waiver did not require that rate. While we still made it a priority to maintain the 95% participation rate in most areas, in comparison the state ranged between 91% and 92% participation.
As you look at the data, it’s important to consider several variables:
- SY 2019-2020 was a year of early closure and no assessment. Any break in the continuity of assessment can affect a student’s overall success.
- All students were on an A/B schedule or virtual for the majority of last year with educators juggling teaching students in class and at home. The district made the decision not to take precious days out of in-person learning for test prep practice. Our goal was to make the most of every in-person instructional moment.
- Students and staff experienced numerous disruptions both from Covid and from historic weather events.
- Students were out sick with Covid, in quarantine, or were adversely affected by family members with the virus, which hampered their ability to adequately prepare for the tests.
- Enrollment was not representative of prior years. Two thousand students left our district last year. While we have recovered most of those students this year, their absence did affect overall test scores.
The OKSDE is advising districts that due to the ongoing challenges related to COVID-19, testing data from the 2021 school year should not be interpreted as they would in a normal year.
In her press release yesterday, Oklahoma Superintendent of Schools Joy Hofmeister said:
“The effects of the pandemic will be seen and felt for years to come. There is no quick fix, but we must not and cannot give up. As Oklahomans, we will strengthen our efforts to ensure our kids are learning in a classroom with their peers and their teachers are equipped and supported as well.”
Edmond will use these test results as a baseline for future growth in student learning. These results are one data point and in no way tell us everything about a student’s or school’s overall learning and performance. Our goal should always be to focus on each individual student’s growth, define learning gaps and strengths, and fill in gaps that may exist.
Since returning to school in August, all K-8th grade students have been given various assessments during the first nine weeks of school to help identify gaps in their learning. Teachers are using that information from the district assessments to provide specialized instruction and support for our students.
How Can I Access My Child’s Test Scores?
To access your child’s state testing scores, log in to the Parent/Student Portal. To log in to the portal, families must have their student’s unique 10-digit State Testing Number (STN), which is available through your school or on previous OSTP paper parent reports. All portal accounts have been reset for spring 2021, which means families will need to register even if they’ve logged on before this testing period.
Parent Tool Kit
In addition, next Tuesday, October 5, the OKSDE will make available a helpful toolkit with webinars and other helpful resources to help you better understand the data.
If you have questions about your child’s scores or a particular school’s scores, please visit with your child’s teacher, building counselor, or principal.