TULSA, Okla. — New data from the state has Union 8th Grade Center earning a "C." But for the first time there's other factors considered by Oklahoma, such as academic improvement: which went up 19 percent in a year.
"It's not just focusing on the scores anymore it's supposed to focus on how much growth was done. Even if they haven't quite hit that proficiency it's still focusing on: have they grown? That's important, especially with our demographics and our kids here," Union 8th Grade Center teacher Rachael Pille said.
Teachers tell 2 Works for You they're encouraged to see absenteeism considered as one of the top factors in achievement, saying every time a desk stays empty, a student is more likely to fall behind.
"I'll have lots of students gone for long periods of time, they come back and then it's just "okay this is what you missed, this is how we can get you caught up and then it's just trying to get them caught up while still moving on," Pille said.
The other sections include English language proficiency and post-secondary opportunities. Many educators said they're relieved the state is looking beyond a test score.
"If you're running a marathon it's really hard to finish in first place if you have an injury, right? A lot of students come from a background of trauma or homelessness or poverty and so their performance on tests might not be the same as a student growing up in midtown Tulsa," said Emily Harris with Will Rogers Jr. and Sr. High School.
Despite a "D" grade overall and a 13 percent in achievement, Harris said she knows her students are capable of more.
"When you have a lack of resources and a lack of funding it's hard to make the type of growth that the state expects us to do. If you're not given adequate funding then you're not able to do the best job you possibly can as a teacher," Harris said.
The superintendent for TPS said this will be used as a starting point, not an overall indicator for any school's capability.
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