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Oklahoma Could See $5 Million Savings By Scrapping EOI Exams

Students in Stephanie Gragg’s English class prepare for a test at Midwest City High School.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record
Students in Stephanie Gragg’s English class prepare for a test at Midwest City High School.";

State lawmakers could be close to eliminating end-of-instruction tests in favor of a single exam that’s recognized across the country.

House Bill 1622 gets rid of nine exams that all students take, but aren’t required by federal law. The Journal Record’s Dale Denwalt reports the bill also lets the State Department of Education decide which tests high schoolers take to graduate:

Earlier discussions on the issue led some officials to endorse the use of the ACT, but the bill’s author said any company would be able to bid. “We changed it to vendor-neutral,” said state Rep. David Derby, R-Owasso. “That way, it would allow for competition. It would drive the cost down on the cost of the test.” Other examples of final, standardized tests that Oklahoma could pick include the SAT and Iowa Test of Basic Skills. Derby said if the Legislature approved the solicitation of a sole-source contract, the cost would be astronomical.

Right now, the state pays a company called Measured Progress $6.9 million to develop and administer Oklahoma’s final exams. According to education officials, switching to something like the ACT could save more than $5 million per year, Denwalt reports:

Oklahoma State School Board Association Director Shawn Hime said he supports the idea of moving to a single test – something he calls a more meaningful assessment of a student’s skills. “(It’s) something that we know is valuable and reliable, and gives good data to our teachers, students and parents,” Hime said. “To me, that’s a win if we can have a better assessment and save millions of dollars. In a $1.3 billion shortfall, every dollar we can save for the classroom helps our students.”

The measure was originally filed last year, and is expected to be heard next week in a conference committee.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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