September 30, 2021 Message from McDaniel | State Assessment Data
OKCPS Families, Staff and Community,
Today, the Oklahoma State Department of Education released the data from last spring's state assessments. As expected -- these scores show that Oklahoma students, like those across the nation, have been deeply impacted by the multitude of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In her press release today, 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.”
As you consider this latest data, it’s important to note that:
- State testing did not occur in the Spring of 2020 when all schools were suddenly forced to move to remote learning as COVID-19 took hold of our community. We were, however, able to resume testing in the Spring of 2021. And, the results you can access are from the Spring of 2021.
- Families should focus on their student’s individual results, which will help them to understand where their child is relative to the end-of-year grade-level expectations.
- State education officials agree that there are simply too many variables for us to be able to tie a student’s performance to any single reason or to make comparisons between particular schools or districts.
- Since returning to school in August 2021, all 3rd-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 assessments to provide specialized instruction and support for our students. OKCPS teams will spend the next few weeks combing through this new data so we can better understand how it too impacts our students.
Since March of 2020, when the pandemic began, educators in OKCPS anticipated that unfinished learning would occur. In response to the many challenges, we have put things in place to begin filling gaps. Last summer we provided multiple academic opportunities through our Summer Learning programming. We have added counseling positions and tutoring programs, as well as math and literacy coaches and instructors across the district. And we continue to focus on student, family, and staff wellness. So, this is no time to panic. Instead, our educators, families and students must continue to come together to provide the very best instruction and other supports to help address each student's individual needs so we can help encourage and empower them as they catch up.
Regardless of what these reports say, I want OKCPS students to know we are proud of their resilience over the last 18 months. I am also proud of #TeamOKCPS who came together to provide daily instruction and other critical supports for our students, families and staff despite the challenges that COVID-19 put in our path.
The results released today only reiterate the importance of being able to keep our kids learning together in-person with their teachers. We are proud of the steps we have taken as a district to provide a safe learning and working environment for our students and staff. As you may know, when the pandemic struck, OKCPS implemented strong cleaning protocols and added ionization systems to clean the air in every facility. We continue to require masks on our campuses and offer COVID-19 testing and vaccines to all of our students and staff. We encourage our community to join us in this effort to keep our students in the classroom by being vaccinated as well.
Today, the Oklahoma State Department of Education released an overview of our statewide test data, and OKCPS families can also access your child’s test scores online by visiting the OSTP Data Portal. You’ll also find an overview on interpreting SY 2020-2021 state assessment scores on their website. Then, on Tuesday, October 5 state officials will also make a toolkit available for families with webinars and other resources to help you better understand the data.
As always, I am grateful for the thousands of OKCPS teachers, principals, and support staff who continue to teach, mentor, and love the whole child...as well as our students’ families. As I’ve said many times before, no test score can measure that kind of commitment.
Let’s continue to take care of each other as we focus on the future of OKCPS kids!
Dr. Sean McDaniel