Jenks Middle School principal Rob Miller requests EOI testing waiver to all Oklahoma students
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Friday, April 27, 2012
4/27/12 at 5:05 AM
A Tulsa-area school principal asked the state Education Board on Thursday to provide a waiver to all remaining Oklahoma students who haven't passed four out of seven end-of-instruction tests this year.
"It is ethically wrong and legally questionable to hold this year's seniors accountable for a law, promulgated under the umbrella of the Oklahoma Testing Program, when the laws concerning this very same program have been ignored by adults," Jenks Middle School Principal Rob Miller told board members at the meeting held at Will Rogers College High School in Tulsa.
Because of this, the EOI test scores may not even be valid, he said.
The class of 2012 is the first group of students to face the state graduation requirement passed by lawmakers in 2005 as part of Achieving Classroom Excellence, or ACE, legislation.
To receive a high school diploma this year, students must have passed at least four of seven end-of-instruction, or EOI, exams. Algebra I and English II are mandatory. Students also must pass two other exams from among Algebra II, geometry, English III, biology or U.S. history.
In 2009, former Gov. Brad Henry signed into law a measure that established the Educational Quality and Accountability Board. The law required the independent audit entity for the state testing program to meet quarterly.
The board was created to oversee and govern the testing program, including setting cut scores, reviewing tests and making recommendations for improvement, and reviewing contracts with test vendors, Miller said.
He was appointed to the board that year by former Speaker of the House Chris Benge. Because the board has never met, Miller surmises that every EOI that current seniors have taken since their sophomore year has failed to be properly assessed and calibrated according to law.
"Subsequently, one could logically and legally argue that the results of all state mandated tests for the past three years are invalid," he said.
Miller made his statement during the public comment period near the end of the daylong meeting.
"I realize that some may see this as a technicality - just another attempt on the part of schools to make excuses for these students and cover up our failures. That is incorrect," he said. "I am here because I am an unabashed advocate for kids and I know that this ACE requirement will unduly punish hundreds of young people across our state."
Janet Dunlop, chief academic officer at Broken Arrow Public Schools, spoke out against the ACE requirement and asked that the board ensure a quick appeals process for students who have extenuating circumstances.
Gov. Mary Fallin signed a measure into law last week that established an appeals process for students.
Melissa White, the state's ACE executive director, told the board that 93.3 percent of Oklahoma's seniors have met the requirements.
But 121 of the state's 420 school districts with high schools have not reported the number of students who have not passed the required tests, she said. Districts were not required to report the figures to the state but were asked to on a voluntary basis.
White indicated the number of students, from reporting districts, who have not passed ACE requirements have fallen to 2,040 statewide from more than 6,000 last November.
The state's school districts were required to report the number of students who are working on or completed projects, which is one alternative to the EOI tests.
Statewide, only 251 students have begun projects, with 63 of those completed and 163 in progress, White said. She said 25 students quit their projects, possibly because they scored proficient in a test or simply because they wanted to quit, she said.
Latest state ACE figures for Tulsa-area school districts
as of April 1
||# not met ACE
||% not met ACE
* These figures likely have fallen significantly since this data was reported to the state
Source: Oklahoma State Department of Education
Board breaks before public comment session
Two hours after the 9:30 a.m. state Education Board meeting began, the state board broke for a 90-minute break to tour Will Rogers College High School and eat lunch.
The move surprised many of the 100 or so people in attendance because there was no break listed on the legally required agenda for Thursday's meeting.
It also came before the public comments portion of the meeting, as well as reports on controversial new graduation requirements that could prevent many high school seniors from obtaining diplomas in May.
Damon Gardenhire, a spokesman for the state Department of Education, said nothing was included on the agenda "because we thought there was a strong likelihood that we would be done" before the school tour and lunch.
"We needed to accommodate our hosts. They had planned for the tour," he said.
Earlier in the meeting, possible action on minutes from the last regular March meeting was listed on the agenda. But state Superintendent Janet Barresi tabled the item without a motion or vote of the board members.
Gardenhire did not respond in time for publication about the appropriateness of Barresi's action.
Original Print Headline: Principal requests waiver on EOI testing
Kim Archer 918-581-8315
Tulsa Public Schools Superintendent Keith Ballard speaks as state Superintendent Janet Barresi listens at the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting held at Will Rogers College High School on Thursday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World
Will Rogers College High School Principal Stacey Vernon speaks at the Oklahoma State Board of Education meeting at Will Rogers College High School on Thursday. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World