WHAT THE DATA SAYS
Oklahoma is adopting new math standards and aligning state assessments in the 2017-2018 school year. Until then, this report includes the state’s seventh-grade math scores for the Oklahoma Core Curriculum Test (OCCT) taken by all students except those in higher math courses. When a new state math assessment is adopted for all eighth-grade students, a new baseline will be set and studied over time in comparison to performance on the more rigorous National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
Based on the current OCCT assessment, the share of Tulsa area seventh grade-students deemed proficient or advanced in math was virtually unchanged between the two years—62% in 2015 and 61% in 2016. That is lower than the 66% proficiency rate measured statewide xii. Gaps are wider for students who are Hispanic, African American and low-income. Fewer than half of these students met the proficiency standard—49%, 36%, and 48% respectively.
WHY IT MATTERS
Two key factors for selecting a new assessment in middle school math are rigor and college and career readiness. The level of mathematics studied later in high school is strongly correlated with college completion. A student successfully completing a course beyond Algebra II more than doubles his or her likelihood of completing a degree.
HOW TO DRIVE CHANGE
The hands-on nature of STEM opens possibilities for strong community partnerships. Though ImpactTulsa has not yet formed a working group for middle school math, area school districts are working with businesses, post-secondary institutions, and nonprofits to increase STEM opportunities. Programs include direct instruction, mentorships, teacher professional development, internships, and much more.