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Senate Education Chair says Oklahoma should consider replacing EOI tests with ACT

State Sen. John Ford said Thursday that Oklahoma should consider replacing the current End of Instruction tests for high school graduation with the ACT. Thats after the State Regents for Higher Education voted to approve Oklahomas Priority Academic Student Skills (PASS) as being college and career ready based on alignment to ACT college and career ready standards.

When the Legislature voted to repeal Common Core in the 2014 session, Oklahoma schools were directed to revert to the PASS standards until the state Board of Education could develop a new set of standards. Lawmakers also asked the regents to decide whether the PASS standards that had previously been in place would prepare students for higher education or for the workforce.

Ford, chair of the Senate Education Committee, said he respected the Regents conclusion and the methodology used in making their decision. He said now its time to more closely evaluate how those standards are taught and evaluated.

Now that we know PASS is college and career ready, my question is why do so many Oklahoma students need remediation when they go to college? At this point, we must carefully review the instructional methods utilized and see where improvements can be made, Ford said. In addition, a thorough review of how we determine if students have met those standards is warranted.

Ford, who represents Nowata, Rogers and Washington Counties, noted that the Regents compared the PASS standards to those measured by the ACT college entrance exam in determining college and career readiness. He said because of that, the ACT may be a better test to evaluate student mastery of math and English than the current state-mandated End of Instruction test.

A vast majority of Oklahoma students already take the ACT annuallyits one of the most significant factors in a college or university admission policy, Ford said. Ive had many parents and educators ask us to look at this possibility, so in the coming weeks, Ill be reaching out to these groups to get additional input as I consider legislation for the 2015 session. Our ultimate goal must be to do everything we can to prepare Oklahoma students for success.