'Just The Beginning': Walters, Tulsa Public Schools Discuss Improvements In Testing Scores

State Superintendent Ryan Walters says he’s pleased with Tulsa Public Schools’ progress this school year. The district released its most recent progress test scores this week with mixed results- not all grades are performing at the same level.

Wednesday, June 19th 2024, 10:47 pm



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State Superintendent Ryan Walters says he’s pleased with Tulsa Public Schools’ progress this school year.

The district released its most recent progress test scores this week with mixed results- not all grades are performing at the same level.

Walters says when he took office, one of his biggest concerns was how TPS Students were performing.

But now, he says the district is a positive example for others to follow, and TPS has the numbers to prove it.

Soon-to-be sixth grader Michael Anthony has reason to be really proud of himself this summer.

"My reading scores recently went up because I've studied my reading and just focusing on my own work,” said Anthony.

He’s talking about his Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) scores.

Students take the test three times a year—in the fall, winter, and spring—in subjects like reading and math.

The TPS School Board went over the most recent scores on Monday. Results were mixed.

The district says the results showed on-track performance in early grades, with the strongest performance in third grade.

The district says the pace of learning stagnated for upper elementary students.

The district says the pace of learning declined in middle school.

The district also says they saw strong improvement in the ninth and tenth grades.

The district sent News On 6 the following statement:

“On Monday night, our Tulsa Public Schools Board of Education reviewed results of the MAP assessment – Measures of Academic Progress – that students in certain grades take three times a year. The board reviews these results as part of an established process to monitor goals for student achievement. These goals focus on the growth in reading and math we see among economically disadvantaged students in specific grades. By reviewing this information, we can understand the rate of individual progress for each student who participates – and where we need to accelerate student learning. 
We know students are always learning -- we monitor the pace at which they are mastering certain skills, and work together to accelerate that rate. In the spring of 2024, we saw mixed rates of growth. Students maintained on-track performance in early grades with the strongest performance in 3rd grade, which is incredibly important to establish strong foundations in literacy and numeracy. Third grade is a critical milestone for students in their academic development. We did see the rate of growth level out for upper elementary students, and decline for young people in grades 6-8. We are not satisfied with these results. We are already working to break down the scores and develop individualized strategies to speed up growth for those students. Moving faster toward mastering these crucial skills does not happen overnight, but we are committed to working tirelessly to find the best, most effective ways to fulfill the potential of every student in Tulsa.”

Walters sees it differently.

He says he went over the numbers with TPS and is really happy with the district’s progress.

He believes that this is the start of a positive trend.

"The test scores are indicating dramatic improvement in Tulsa,” said Walters. “The turnaround is happening in Tulsa Public Schools. It is just the beginning, but we are well on our way to seeing a dramatically improved Tulsa Public Schools district."

He says the state plans to continue working with Tulsa Public Schools and administrators to ensure students have what they need to continue learning at the pace they should be.

"It's not pockets, it's a consistent culture shift that says, now things are trending up,” said Walters. “Then what you do is a deep dive, and you go, now how do we accelerate it in these grade levels."

Anthony says he’s already been seeing the change in his school and says he will continue to put in the work to make his reading scores go up.

"They just come up to you; they ask you questions if it's hard or not,” said Anthony.

These are just the MAP scores. The OSTP state testing scores are set to be released later this year.

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