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Raising The Grade: Late EOI Test Results

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Part of assessing a student's knowledge and a teacher's performance for a particular school year is through Oklahoma's mandatory End of Instruction exams.

But a Raising the Grade investigation found that many times the results don't come back until the next school year, long after the students and teachers have moved on. News on 6 reporter Kia Malone spoke with some educators about their frustration and how some school districts are working to improve the situation.

“The reactants contain a certain amount of potential energy, the products do.” Chemistry teacher Tom Garner's passion in doing what he can to help his students learn. “Yeah, look at it. If that x-y axis is the energy.” But sometimes using the state's end of instruction exams to get feedback on his teaching skills and his students' knowledge, can take awhile. “We don't see the results as a teacher until late into the next school year.”

And that means the information they get can become useless. Jeff Kingsley-Secondary curriculum coordinator: “the negative or concern was that we couldn't identify curricular weaknesses. And so perhaps concepts that weren't stressed before were going to be tested again, maybe we didn't give adequate coverage.”

The News on 6 asked officials at the Oklahoma Department of Education for an on-camera interview to explain why the EOI test results come back several months after the tests are administered, sometimes weeks after the next school year starts.

Instead, they sent us an email stating…”There is no deadline in state law for the return of high school test scores." The email also reads…”The writing assessment is hand-scored by two different readers from the testing company. Since it is hand scored, it takes 10 to 12 weeks for districts to receive End-Of-Instruction scores."

Yet, according to the department's own data, EOI's were administered for US History and English II for the first time in December of 2000. Those test results didn't come back until September of 2001, nine months later. Students who took EOI's in December of 2001 didn't see the results until May of 2002, five months later. And the results for EOI's administered in December of 2002 were not returned to districts until a year later in December of 2003.

Tom Garner: “When we received those results back in December, teachers felt the time to act was now because we only had 3 months before the next EOI tests were administered.”

So some districts across the state, like the Mustang School district, developed their own quarterly assessment that mimics the End of Instruction exam. Grading is done in-house, with results back in a couple of weeks.

“It's something that we can use quarterly to get immediate feedback and make changes even during the same school year. Which I think will help our kids. It helps our teachers with what we need to tweak and what we need to do differently each year.”

So, these educators say they aren't pointing the finger at the Oklahoma Department of Education, just using the sometimes setback as a challenge. “We saw it as a good idea and why wait. If we can get it ready and go ahead and do it this year. Why wait until next year when we can start helping kids now.”

Officials at the Department of Education also say it has dismissed a testing company for being late with results in the past. But last December the testing company failed to use the correct scaled scores, therefore they had to redo the results and this caused the test scores to be late.
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