Standardize Tests Questioned by Senator

Monday, February 16th 2009, 7:15 pm
By: News 9

By Alex Cameron, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma's standardized test results are giving parents and students a false sense of security, according to Senator Clark Jolley (R-District 41).

Senator Jolley purposed the Education Accountability Reform Act, a bill that could change the way students are tested.

Currently, the state Department of Education, and ultimately the superintendent of public instruction, Sandy Garrett, are accountable for Oklahoma's Core Curriculum Testing.

Senator Jolley worries political motivation may be the reason why students have scored much higher on assessment tests in the past few years.

"When the hap is so large that we're being singled out for criticism by liberal newspapers, as well as conservative newspapers nationally...I think we need to take a look," Senator Jolley said.

Jolley's purposed legislation would create the Educational Quality and Accountability Office.

"We can have faith and confidence that the data that we're getting is not skewed one way or another, for political purpose," Senator Jolley said.

Superintendent Garrett tried to explain to lawmakers that state testing is overseen by a panel of national experts, and that her office is in no way manipulating test scores.

"Believe me, if anyone was manipulating those, we wouldn't look like that in biology and algebra and we wouldn't have the remediation rates that we do," Garrett said.

Others complained that low test scores are just a symptom of the larger problems they should be dealing with.

Debate on the bill lasted a solid hour, which ultimately resulted in the approval of the bill. It will now be sent to the full Senate.