National report card shows Oklahoma missing the mark

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OKLAHOMA CITY- The Nation's Report Card was released late Tuesday night, showing that while mathematics scores rose, it’s another story for reading, and that’s why many schools are changing their tactics when it comes to literacy.

“We always want to be really careful that we’re not sucking the joy out of literacy,” said Edmond Schools’ Elizabeth Ging, Early Childhood Instructional Facilitator.

The National Assessment of Educational Progress shows Oklahoma students fell below national scores when it comes to reading and mathematics for 4th and 8th graders.

“For us to be a top 10 state, we’re going to have to do things differently in education,” said Joy Hofmeister, State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

From 2017 to 2019, Oklahoma’s 8th-grade math scores showed a one-point gain, but during that same time, national scores were flat or actually showed a drop.

On the other hand, Oklahoma’s 4th-grade reading score dropped by one point, while Oklahoma’s 8th-grade reading score dropped three points. Something Hofmeister said has to improve.

“We are not teaching uniformly across the state based on the science of reading,” Hofmeister said. “We want our children to be sounding our words and learning to decode.”

Edmond Schools’ Elizabeth Ging said the district is already working on that.

“Depending on what the skill deficit is, we always want to be mindful of the research and evidence in the continuum of literacy to know that, ‘Oh, we need to start here with just identifying the sounds the letters make,’” Ging said.

But Ging said parents can help out by putting down those tablets.

“It’s not a replacement for that book in hand. Children learn concepts of print through having a book. They’re not able to turn a page and know the function of having a book on a device,” Ging said.

Ging also said developing a numerical sense, such as sounding out and recognizing numbers, at a young age is just as important as learning letters.

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