Tulsa Public Schools First Grade Reading Scores Show Progress, but still below National Average

Wednesday, April 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

Tulsa Public Schools first graders showed a 21-point National Percentile improvement between September and March of this school year according to Gates-MacGinitie Grade 1 Composite test results.

This year's figures show the district with a 46 National Percentile Rank Score, four points below the national average.

(A score of 50 is the national average. This means that 50% of the students scored higher than students across the country. In the case of one of the highest scores in the district, the 80 percentile ranking of Patrick Henry's first graders means that 80% of the Patrick Henry students scored higher than students nationally, and 20% of the students nationally scored higher than the students taking the test at Patrick Henry.)

Although a year-to-year comparison is not valid since it compares previous year's first grade students (today's second graders) with this year's students, the district showed an 18 point increase from March 2000 (28) to March 2001 (46).

"The 21 point progress during the first nine months of the school year and the improvement on a year-to-year basis are encouraging," said TPS Superintendent Dr. David E. Sawyer. "It would appear that the new emphasis on reading and acquiring reading skills is already beginning to show results.

"While this progress is important, it means that we are headed in the right direction and that we still must make substantial progress to meet, then surpass, the national average," said Sawyer.

"In addition, no matter how well we may do and what progress we show, it is important to remember that this particular test is more diagnostic than achievement oriented. First graders are very difficult to test and these results are best used when formulating education plans for our individual students rather than as a basis for comparing schools," continued Sawyer.

That said, Sawyer added, it is inevitable that statistical comparisons will be made. "We can all take pride in the schools, which scored in the 70 percentile or above: Mayo (82), Patrick Henry (80), Eliot (79), Lee (76), and Carnegie (72). We also applaud those schools which showed a minimum improvement of 30 points from September to March: Patrick Henry (up 46 points), Lee (42), Hoover (40), Carnegie and McKinley (38), Mitchell (34), Lindbergh, Hawthorne and Grimes (33), Greeley (32), and Cooper and Robertson (30).

The two schools with the lowest National Percentile, Anderson and Field with 27, both recorded double-digit improvements over the first nine months of the school year with Anderson improving 11 points and Field improving 18 points.

"Of the 54 elementary school first grade students tested, 17 of our schools scored 50 or better with the greatest improvement being shown by the total number of schools (48) throughout the district which surpassed the 40th national percentile level.

"This is the kind of progress we can build upon as we go into a new school year next August with a district-wide commitment to improving reading," said Sawyer.