OKLAHOMA'S ACT scores down, except in Bartlesville

Tuesday, August 14th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Disappointing news for Oklahoma schools, with the release Wednesday of the state’s ACT scores. They’re down from last year. Oklahoma's average was 20.5, down three-tenths percent the year before and below the national average of 21.

But educators in Bartlesville were all smiles; their scores were tops in the Tulsa area, and third in the state. The News on Six's Glenda Silvey went to Bartlesville to find out why. Bartlesville High School teachers start a new school year this week with a little more excitement than usual. The school's average ATC score rose for the fourth year in a row, to the highest in the Tulsa area at 23.3. Teachers believe they know why. Cindy Dronyk, Math Teacher: "Our community is very supportive of education. Our parents help teachers and try to make sure their child is in school and that they do what they need to do." Principal Dr Debi Boyles agrees it's that, and more. "We know that our teachers are dedicated – we have high quality educators who take their responsibility very seriously."

Oklahoma's lowest score was in math, a full point below the national average, prompting State Superintendent to re-issue her call for four years of math for all high schoolers. Bartlesville math teachers aren't sure all students need four, and say the key is emphasizing math earlier. "I would like to see more involvement at the elementary level and to really start trying to catch our kids when they're young. To get them hooked into math and have a really good background, and then more children will succeed."

Some educators say special curricula like the one at Tulsa's new School for Science and Technology will help. Cynthia Macarevich, TSST Principal: "With the increased emphasis on science, which obviously has a strong math application, we certainly expect our math scores to increase." While some point to Bartlesville's perception as an affluent community, Dr Boyles says the district struggles with money like others. She also credits stability resulting from low mobility rate and low teacher student ratio. Whatever the reasons, students, teachers, and families are grateful. "Elated, of course. We are excited. What a wonderful way to start a new school year."

Dr Boyles and other educators say it's important to remember that test scores are just one indicator of a school's growth, and don't tell the full story about the amount of work and progress going on.