Oklahoma Superintendent Proposes Accreditation Reform: Low Test Scores Could Jeopardize District Status

KOKH - December 5, 2023 6:18 am

State Superintendent Ryan Walters

State Superintendent Ryan Walters has been hinting at the topic for months, but at the November State Board of Education meeting he announced his plan to hold districts to a higher standard with accreditation.

“To be clear, failure is not an option for Oklahoma schools,” Supt. Walters said.

While it’s not yet a drafted rule, Supt. Walters is proposing accreditation reform.

If more than 50% of a district’s students score below the basic threshold in English, Language Arts and Math on state assessments, their accreditation could be on the line.

“If they don’t meet that threshold, they would get a deficiency,” Supt. Walters said. “It would start penalizing them through the accreditation process.”

There are four performance levels for state testing: below basic, basic, proficient and advanced. The metrics vary by grade.

The rule would tie academic outcomes to accreditation, but a district with low testing could bring up their accreditation status by improving their scores by 5% year after year.

“Getting all the way from 30%, or 35% to 50% in a year could be rather difficult,” Supt. Walters said. “So giving them the targeted goal of 5% growth over an academic year we believe is very obtainable.”

The rule could take a few months to implement. First it will need to be drafted, next a period of public comment, and finally a board vote.


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