Oklahoma Legislative Interim Study

Dorman Calls for Increased Funding of Education Program

Contact: State Rep. Joe Dorman

Capitol: (405) 557-7305

Rush Springs: (580) 476-2626

OKLAHOMA CITY (October 6, 2006) – If the Oklahoma Legislature increases funding for the Great Expectations teacher training program, it could lead to a dramatic improvement in student performance across the state, state Rep. Joe Dorman said today.

"Great Expectations is a proven program that dramatically improves student learning," said Dorman, D-Rush Springs. "A relatively small increase in funding could reap huge rewards for our school system and state economy in the long run."

The Great Expectations program provides teacher training that emphasizes an eclectic approach utilizing proven teaching methods. Teachers who complete the summer program also receive mentoring from an experienced teacher for the next school year.

Teachers have experienced real success when translating the Great Expectations curriculum from abstract theory to real-world practice, Dorman noted.

A study conducted by the University of Oklahoma Educational Training, Evaluation, Assessment and Measuring Department found that students taught by a Great Expectations teacher perform much better on tests than other students. The total composite Normal Curve Equivalent (NCE) scores for students in a Great Expectations classroom improved nearly 17 percent over a single school year, while other students’ NCE scores improved just 6.5 percent.

NCE scores measure where a student falls along a normal curve. A student’s percentile rank indicates how many students out of a hundred have a lower or higher score.

According to the University of Oklahoma Educational Training, Evaluation, Assessment and Measuring Department study, Great Expectations students in Oklahoma start out in the middle of the pack, but quickly move well into the top half of student scores.

Students in Great Expectations classrooms are rated higher than their counterparts in critical thinking skills, language, reading and mathematics, according to the study.

Over 200,000 Oklahoma students – nearly one out of three in the state – attend classes taught by a Great Expectations Summer Institute graduate.

Teacher participation in the program has increased dramatically through the years, rising from 175 in 1991 to as many as 5,200 in a single year.

The Oklahoma Legislature provides scholarship funding to help schools send teachers and principals to the Great Expectations Summer Institute. The appropriation also pays for teachers to receive mentoring throughout the school year.

Lawmakers provided approximately $770,000 for scholarships last year, but the number of teachers wanting to take the training program was more than double the number of scholarships provided.

Dorman said a $2 million appropriation could meet the current demand and expected growth.

He said lawmakers should also try to ensure teachers from high-risk school districts are giving priority in the scholarship process and that education colleges are encouraged to incorporate the Great Expectations program into their teacher-training curriculum.

"A lot of the education reforms that we debate at the Capitol are pretty abstract, but we’ve got concrete results from Great Expectations," Dorman said. "There’s no denying that this program works and any investment will pay off for students and Oklahoma families."