70% of high school students score satisfactory on English test

Friday, November 16th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Results of statewide English and history tests given to Oklahoma high school students last year were disappointing, says state schools Superintendent Sandy Garrett said.

Seventy percent of high school students scored at least satisfactory on the English test. Sixty-five percent of students scored at least satisfactory on the history test.

``These are the first benchmarks we have for these tests, and we certainly hope we'll see improvement,'' Garrett said Thursday.

The English test is typically taken by sophomores finishing their second year of high school English, while juniors are more likely to take U.S. history. Each test is scored at four levels: unsatisfactory, limited knowledge, satisfactory and advanced.

Garrett said she's disappointed only 10 percent of students scored at the advanced level in English and 8 percent scored advanced on the history test.

Six percent of students scored unsatisfactory on the English test; that rose to 10 percent of the history test.

The results were released during a state Board of Education meeting.

The tests are the first of the state's end-of-instruction tests. Algebra and biology tests will be added on a trial basis this year. They'll be permanently added during the 2002-2003 school year.

Also Thursday, state board members asked the Legislature for an extra $3.7 million to pay for health insurance costs for teachers and support staff.

The state Education Department's original request was based on the number of teachers and support staff last school year, but that increased this school year by 687 teachers and 1,415 support staff, officials said.

The board dealt with other budgets matter Thursday, setting their priorities for the department's $2.3 billion fiscal 2003 budget request.

Board members cited as their top priority a nearly $84 million request to pay for 4.25 percent teacher pay raises, followed by a $25.6 million request to offset rising health insurance premiums for teachers.

Board members want to raise teacher pay by 4.25 percent in each of the next five years and pay at least 50 percent of a teacher's single-plan health insurance premium.