After studying the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) reviews posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Education (OSDE) website, I produced a document that listed the consistent issues brought up by reviewers over the course of the four draft standards documents produced by the OAS writing teams.
There were 13 separate standards reviewers outside the OSDE that contributed reviews posted to the OSDE website.** These are as follows:
Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Standards Review
Southern Regional Education Board (SREB)
South Central Comprehensive Center (SC3)
Partnership for 21st Century (P21)
Center on Enhancing Early Learning Outcomes (CEELO)
Center for Standards and Assessment Implementation Review (WestEd)
Dr. Larry Gray
Oklahoma Technical Advisory Committee (OK TAC)
Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative (OEWI) (State Chamber provided)
College & Career Readiness & Success Center (CCRS)
Dr. Sandra Stotsky
Dr. Christopher Yakes (no resume provided)
Dr. Christopher Yakes
Ms. Shellie Klein (no resume provided)
Oklahoma Educated Workforce Initiative (OEWI)
The issues/concerns consistently addressed over the course of the four drafts were as follows:
- Vague; uses imprecise terminology
- Not measurable or precise; not easily testable
- Needs more work on glossary of terms
- Needs examples of literary texts at each grade level
- Needs reading/writing lists of Oklahoma authors
- Needs reading material from the founding documents
- Needs student exemplar writing samples
- Too much overlap of standards across grades; lack of focus on alignment
- Needs specific examples of problems
- Need much more work on glossary of terms
- Needs resources for teachers to utilize
Here, I’m going to try and point to some ways in which these critiques could add up to ways in which the new OAS do not satisfy the Oklahoma Common Core Repeal Bill HB3399.
Section 11-103.6 A. (pg 7)
6. The subject matter standards for English Language Arts shall give Classic Literature and nonfiction literature equal consideration to other literature. In addition, emphasis shall be given to the study of complete works of literature.
7. At a minimum, the subject matter standards for mathematics shall require mastery of thee standard alogrithms in mathematics, which is the most logical, efficient way of solving a problem that consistently works, and for students to attain fluency in Euclidian geometry.
6. The new OAS violate number 6 simply because there are no text exemplars provided in the new standards documents so there is no way to know whether or not students are being exposed equally to fiction and non-fiction, or classical literature. Clearly, this section was added to prevent Common Core’s addiction to non-fictional (technical) texts from being overused on Oklahoma students. Clearly the legislature had an investment in this ideal enough to prescribe this specifically in law. Therefore, the OAS should provide text exemplars.
7. I scanned the Mathematics standards and pulled out the following specific standards
1.N.2.1 Represent and solve real-world and mathematical problems using addition and subtraction up to ten.
3.N.2.8 Use strategies and algorithms based on knowledge of place value, equality and properties of addition and multiplication to multiply a two-digit number by a one-digit number.
4.N.1.3 Multiply 3-digit by 1-digit or a 2-digit by 2-digit whole numbers, using efficient and generalizable procedures and strategies, based on knowledge of place value, including but not limited to standard algorithms.
No specific examples were given in the glossary, or within the standards themselves, describing any manner of method for instructing students in the standard. What are the standard algorithms in these cases? There are standards algorithms, yet the OAS does not prescribe them or provide examples of them as does this example found on HelpingWithMath.com.
G.1. (pg 20)
- a. effective preparation for active citizenship and postsecondary education or the workforce,
- e. clarity for educators and parents,
- f. exemplars tied to the standards,
- g. measurability of student proficiency in the subject matter,
Dr. Stotsky, in her final review says, (pg 3, #7)
Nowhere does one find the only clear content that was in Common Core’s High School ELA Standards. Its standards required study of this country’s founding and seminal documents.
Unfortunately, nearly every review read marked the OAS as ‘vague’ in some manner or form, from the first draft through the fourth. Obviously, standards considered ‘vague’ cannot provide clarity for educators or parents
Reviewers from the first OAS draft through the fourth complained of the lack of exemplars tied to the standards.
Several individuals associated with the Oklahoma Technical Advisory Committee provided reviews of the third draft. Several quotes were pulled from these reviews for the post that includes my full review analysis. Unfortunately, many of the standards were deemed as ‘untestable’ or too expensive to assess.
In fact, one of the reviewers from OK TAC said the following,
“Speaking and Listening will not be assessable in a standardized format. Be careful with that as peer review clearly calls for all standards to be assessed.” Marianne Perie Director, Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (pg 3)
H. (pg 21)
All subject matter standards and corresponding statewide student assessments adopted by the State Board of Education shall be carefully circumscribed to reflect direct application to subject matter proficiency and shall not include standards or assessment questions that are designed to collect or measure noncognitive, emotional or psychological characteristics, attributes or skills of students.
Standards that are ‘vague’ or ‘untestable’ cannot be either “carefully circumscribed” nor are they capable of being declared as not being “designed to collect or measure…”.
This review and critique of the new Oklahoma Academic Standards stems from no other desire than for Oklahoma to create the very BEST academic standards possible. Certainly, as I’ve said before, Oklahoma has the opportunity – using advice and assistance from top two education standards creators in the nation, and other prominent reviewers – to create the best NON-COMMON CORE standards in the entire nation.
Oklahoma must avail ourselves of this ability and return the OAS to the OSDE where they can be revised. In fact, this is necessity if the new OAS are to comply with the full extent of HB3399.
**[I did not take into account reviews provided by the community, business leaders and others provided on the OSDE website OAS page because these comments were not often tied to specific standards but were more general comments about the standards as a whole. While I’m very happy there was so much input obtained by the OSDE on the standards drafts, and I certainly appreciate all the time laypeople took to look over the standards or attend OAS presentations, these were very hard to survey because of their generalities.]