Weekly Radio Message - State Superintendent Janet Barresi

Below is the transcript from State Supt. Barresi's weekly radio message from Aug. 19, 2011. The audio file is attached below.


Hello and welcome to my regular video message.

I’m Janet Barresi, Oklahoma’s state superintendent of public instruction.

This week, I wanted to talk about ACT results for the state released earlier this week.

Act’s annual condition of college and career readiness report came out this week … along with profile reports on each state. Overall, the act report showed that college and career readiness continues to increase among act-tested U.S. high school graduates.

There was some good news for Oklahoma. But the results also show a high number of students who are graduating without all of the academic skills they need to succeed after high school.

While Oklahoma continues to have a high percentage of students taking the act, the state's average composite score has flat lined over the past several years.

I’m also concerned that too many of our students are not prepared for college, especially in the areas of science and math.

A bright spot about this week’s report was that it showed that our students in Oklahoma taking the act test scored one percentage point higher on college readiness benchmarks for English against their counterparts across the nation. 67 percent compared to 66 percent across the nation. We also matched the national average for reading.

But when you get past that good news, it is clear we have our work ahead of us.

Oklahoma students taking the test were a full 10 percentage points below the national percent for math and 5 percentage points below the national results for science.

Even in our current challenging fiscal climate, we must redouble our efforts to make more students capable in math and science. And we must ensure that students take a full and rigorous course load while in high school.

The act results showed that many students interested in high-growth fields like education, management, marketing, health care and community services fall short of meeting act’s college readiness benchmarks, particularly in the areas of math and science. Act’s analysis showed that of 2011 ACT-tested high school graduates interested in health care, only 16 percent met the college readiness benchmark for math and only 11 percent met the benchmark for science. Of those indicating an interest in health care, only 37 percent met benchmarks for reading.

We must focus on increasing students in the stem pipeline. Science, technology, engineering and math are beginning to pervade almost every profession. Our students must be engaged in these subjects if they are going to succeed.
The act’s analysis also showed if a student takes four years of science, math, and English, they do significantly better on the act than if they take three years or less.

It’s absolutely critical that in order to be prepared for the 21st century, students in Oklahoma need to take a full course load while they are in high school.

We have to keep pushing forward with rigorous coursework and increased standards, and I'm committed to those goals moving forward.

Thanks for watching and I’ll see you soon.

Last updated on December 14, 2011