OCCT results arrive on time for teachers
BY ANDREA EGER World Staff Writer
Sunday, August 05, 2007
8/05/07 at 7:12 AM
Analyzing standardized test results has become an annual back-to-school rite of passage for teachers
The summertime arrival of Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test results
for grades 3 through 8 creates a
mountain of data on which to base
new teaching strategies and even
last-minute hiring decisions.
The faculty at Cooper Elementary
School has seen marked improvement in student achievement since
they began a "vigilant effort" to look
at test data a few years ago, Principal Barbara Penrose said.
"We break down the test results all the way to each (curriculum) objective and see which kids were successful and which ones weren't.
Then we look at strategies and see which ones need to be
tweaked," Penrose said.
"We also look at the questions. Did we teach the objective the way the (Oklahoma)
State Department (of Education) meant it?"
Communicating with students and their parents about
the results will be one of the
first orders of business when
school starts at Cooper and
other traditional calendar
schools in Tulsa on Aug. 20.
"At the beginning of the
school year, we talk with students about how they performed on the test and then
we hold parent meetings for
each grade level where teachers give out parent reports
with the results and a presentation and a handout of the
(curriculum) objectives for
the new school year," Penrose said.
The faculties at Tulsa's five
year-round schools have already had a few work days to
review the results of April's
standardized tests because
their schools will be back in
session on Tuesday.
Cindi Hemm, principal of
one of those schools, Eugene
Field Elementary, said she relies on a teacher on her staff
who is particularly adept at
data analysis to disaggregate
The teacher creates charts
and graphs to illustrate the
results and to point out
trends so the entire faculty
can see areas of strengths and weaknesses in instruction.
Hemm said she even uses
the information to drive administrative decisions.
"If you see a teacher is really strong in teaching certain
reading objectives, and maybe I'm weak in fourth- or fifth-grade reading, I will move
them into that slot," Hemm
Sharolyn Sorrels, school
for Tulsa Public Schools, said
breaking down test data to
see how individual students
perform has become critical
to schools' academic success.
"For example, a fourth-grade teacher can look at her
own scores from the previous
year for feedback about her
teaching strategy -- sometimes it's like a bright red
beacon for them to see, 'Oh
my gosh, remember how we
changed that project? It didn't
work as well, so we can adjust,' " she said.
"That fourth-grade teacher
can also look at third-grade
data to see how her new class
of students performed to find
out their strengths and weaknesses."
Sorrels likened education
to the practice of medicine
and test scores to a patient's
test results after receiving
"It's a diagnostic, one-on-one prescription for success,"
she said of education. "Sometimes we don't give teachers
the credit they deserve because it's very difficult to prescribe the best technique for
teaching each student, especially because of the number
of kids in each class and the
diversity of the students.
"A doctor treats one patient
at a time, but teachers have
20 students or more in a
Search a database of OCCT
scores from eight area schools by
district, school or grade.
Andrea Eger 581-8470