Spring benchmark scores at Cherokee show students exceeding expectations

Analysis of spring benchmark data aligned to the Oklahoma Academic Standards (OAS) found students in schools using OAS-aligned curriculum and assessments are performing better than expected this year despite the pandemic. In Cherokee Public Schools, spring scores are well above statewide averages as they were in the fall and Cherokee Elementary posted significant academic growth.

In 52 schools statewide, 75 percent or more of students in Grades 3-8 completed OAS-aligned reading and math benchmarks in March and early April. The spring average from 9,587 students statewide was 14 percentage points higher than the fall baseline.

Average OAS Benchmark Scores as of April 9, 2021:

• Cherokee Elementary: Baseline average, 51%; spring average, 67%; true growth, 17%.

• Cherokee Junior High: Baseline average, 51%; spring average, 64%; true growth, 12%.

• State average for 52 schools in Alpha Plus Online: Baseline average, 43%; spring average, 57%; true growth, 14%.

Averages are reported only for schools with at least 75% of students completing spring benchmark assessments in reading and math at Grade 3-8 by April 9, 2021 (or 9,587 students) from among 13,300 students in 91 Oklahoma schools in Alpha Plus Online.

“Based on midyear and spring data for the schools we serve, student learning loss caused by the pandemic has not been as great as many predicted,” Alpha Plus CEO Jan Barrick explained. “We congratulate and send our gratitude to the teams of educators, students and parents in Cherokee Elementary and Junior High Schools who are doing the hard work of teaching and learning in and out of school this year.”

Most impressive is that benchmark scores are consistent with prior years. This is likely because of vertical alignment inherent in the state standards and because many of these schools have been using OAS-aligned curriculum for a number of years. Unknown factors include the number of days each school has had in-person learning, virtual instruction and/or hybrid distance-learning schedules over the last year.

Teachers trained to address summer learning loss and close academic gaps every year prioritize essential skills required in state standards. They use data by OAS objective to differentiate instruction and coordinate intervention before state tests each April. Alpha Plus assessments have been aligned to OAS and administered online for five years helping teachers identify gaps between what a student knows and what the state expects them learn in any school year.

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