Updating oklahoma teacher certifications

This post is part two of a two-part series which explains the new federal education law that replaces the No Child Left Behind Act with the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Part one looked at ESSA’s effects on accountability and standards.

Under the current A-F grading system, student performance, an indicator which makes up half of a school’s overall grade, is based on end-of-instructions tests; however, these exams were eliminated by HB 3218.

The A-F grading system, which has already been criticized for distorting our understanding of school performance and discriminating against high-poverty schools, will have to be revised to account for the new testing plan.

ESSA also requires that every state test students in science at least once in grades 3 through 5, 6 through 8, and 9 through 12.

With state approval, high schools may use nationally-recognized tests like the SAT or ACT rather than state exams.

In the long run, Oklahoma will likely continue to hemorrhage teachers to other states or careers until pay and working conditions become more attractive and competitive.

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During the 2016 legislative session, HB 2957 gave schools more flexibility on how they evaluate teachers.

Starting in 2017-18, teachers will still be evaluated on qualitative measures; however, school districts have the power to decide whether or not to evaluate teachers on quantitative measures like student test scores.

HB 3218, which was passed in the 2016 legislative session, is aligned to the annual state testing requirements of ESSA, with the addition of a U. Starting in the 2017-18 school year, HB 3218 allows high schools to use nationally-recognized tests as an alternative to end-of-instruction exams with state approval.

These testing changes will lead to further changes in Oklahoma’s A-F grading system for school accountability.

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