Recent studies clearly indicate that the more
prepared students are in high school, the better their chances of
succeeding in college. Nobody understands that more than the Oklahoma
State Regents for Higher Education, who have recognized nine Oklahoma
high schools for maintaining the lowest remediation rates in the
state from 1998-2000. The rankings come as a direct result of findings
in the latest High School Indicators Project.
During their regularly scheduled meeting today, the State Regents recognized Edmond Memorial, Weatherford, Deer Creek, Burns Flat-Dill City, Cheyenne, Lomega and Arapaho high schools, along with Tulsa's Holland Hall School and the Oklahoma School of Science and Math (OSSM) in Oklahoma City, as having the lowest remediation.
This marks the second year that the State Regents have honored high schools for their low remediation rates and the second year they have recognized Edmond Memorial, Weatherford, Deer Creek, OSSM and Holland Hall. Last year, Arapaho High School received a top school award; this year it garnered honorable mention accolades.
"There are three keys to ensuring student success in college: preparation, preparation, preparation," Chancellor Hans Brisch said. "And that has never been truer than it is today as our state moves further into the 21st century.
"We are living in a knowledge-based society, and it is imperative that Oklahoma students have the skills and knowledge needed to compete on a level playing field with their counterparts in other states. That's why I am extremely pleased with the commitment that these high schools have demonstrated in getting their students up to speed. All of the teachers, administrators and staff, and especially the students, are to be commended."
Regents divided the schools into eight categories, depending on the number of students in each district, and then compared them to other schools within that category. For instance, top performer Edmond Memorial competed against 17 high schools from school districts with 10,000 or more students. Lomega, on the other hand, competed against 72 high schools from school districts with less than 250 students.
There were also special categories for "magnet" schools, private schools and for the Oklahoma School of Science and Math. The report excluded schools that had five or fewer students enrolled in college during any of the three years.
The ranking within each of the groups, which is derived from data provided in the annual High School Indicators Project, is based on a school's average percentage of college freshmen enrolled in remedial courses during the past three years. In addition, remediation rates must have been less than 20 percent, with honorable mention recognition given to schools not in first place that posted remediation rates of less than 10 percent.
The High School Indicators Project provides feedback on educational performance measures to high schools. State lawmakers created the program in 1990 to evaluate Oklahoma schools and school districts, requiring multiple measures from the State Regents, the State Department of Education and the Office of Accountability. The State Regents office mails copies of the High School Indicators Project reports annually to Oklahoma high school principals, superintendents and school boards.
"The commitment and dedication these schools have shown as they try to better prepare our young people for the rigors of college will hopefully serve as examples to other high schools across the state," State Regents' Chairman Joe Mayer said. "It's that determination and mindset that will help produce more college graduates in the state and help ensure Oklahoma's positive involvement in the global marketplace for years to come."
State Regents have undertaken several other initiatives since 1993 to help students better prepare for college. Regents have increased the high school core curricular requirements for college admission from 11 courses to 15 and implemented the Educational Planning and Assessment System (EPAS), which provides eighth and 10th grade students information about how they are progressing academically in core content areas. Approximately 80 percent of all Oklahoma's school districts currently participate in EPAS, which accounts for more than 90 percent of all eighth and 10th graders in the state.
Regents have also strengthened teacher preparation by requiring all elementary, special education and early childhood development education majors to complete 12 credit hours in each of four subjects - mathematics, English, science and social sciences; added a third option for college admission based solely on a student's grade point average in the State Regents' 15-unit high school core curriculum; and began providing tutoring and mentoring assistance.
The U.S. Department of Education awarded Oklahoma with a state GEAR UP grant totaling $20.5 million in August 1999. The grant has been matched by more than $25 million from state and partner resources. With funds totaling $45.5 million, GEAR UP receives 45 percent of total funding from the federal government and 55 percent from other organizations.