Oklahoma Innovation Index

NEWS: The launch of the Oklahoma Innovation Index is this February, 2016.  Thank you to the Windgate Charitable Foundation in Arkansas for the generous $45,000 grant. We will soon implement the first phase of our Field Testing.  Twelve schools will be participating in Oklahoma and Arkansas with research being conducted during the month of February.

 Are we giving our students the opportunity to develop creativity—the ability to generate ideas— and then to critically evaluate potential?

More and more, schools are “teaching to the test” because the only public measures of school success are standardized tests. We cannot measure individual creativity at a reasonable cost, but we can establish the guidelines to foster the practice of creativity and innovation. The Oklahoma Innovation Index establishes a public measurement of the number of opportunities for creative work in schools and then provides a public rating.

Through the Oklahoma Innovation Index, in addition to the standardized tests, we can measure schools by how many opportunities they create for creative and critical thinking. Currently, we use individual achievement (measured by the standardized test) to determine school-wide success. Through a creative opportunity index, we can measure the overall environment of a school.

The Oklahoma Innovation Index was created by a specialized task force, a public/private partnership established by Governor Mary Fallin in partnership with Creative Oklahoma. The task force is headed by the Secretaries of Education and Commerce and includes teachers, business and community leaders. The task force hears testimony from teachers, citizens, scholars, and experts. Through hearings and public forums, the task force establishes ideas for best practices, in addition to a public measurement, of creative opportunities.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is the Oklahoma Innovation Index?

The Oklahoma Innovation Index is a school assessment to measure classroom activities that enhance student creativity.  Designed by a task force of Oklahomans—leaders in education, technology, business and government—the Oklahoma Innovation Index will be a vehicle to meet the critical need for an innovative workforce in Oklahoma and to develop the creative skills individuals need in the new economy.  Oklahoma currently measures student performance primarily through standardized tests, which provide valuable, but incomplete accountability.  The Oklahoma Innovation Index establishes strong incentives to classroom teachers to enhance student creativity across all disciplines.  The Index provides both measurement of student progress and accountability for creativity skills that are not currently measured.

Why the Oklahoma Innovation Index?

Schools should be rewarded for establishing and maintaining creative opportunities for students through debate clubs, science fairs, theatre performance, concerts, film making, creative writing, arts education and independent research. Through the Oklahoma Innovation Index, we provide accountability to the individual student and to society that we are preparing future leaders in innovation.

Does the Oklahoma Innovation Index replace the current standardized tests as a school measurement tool?

No. The Oklahoma Innovation Index ranking will be listed in addition to standardized test scores. Standardized tests combine the scores of individual students to give a picture of school achievement. The Oklahoma Innovation Index measures the school environment to determine how many opportunities are available to the individual student.

What is the role of the Oklahoma Innovation Index Task Force?

The Oklahoma Innovation Index Task Force is a public/private partnership established by Governor Mary Fallin in partnership with Creative Oklahoma. The task force will create the index, based on information gathered through public forums, written testimony and research. The task force will establish a scale—for example, 1-100—and will allocate points for creative activities (e.g., students engaged in science fair projects earn 15 points on the scale).

Will the Oklahoma Innovation Index be expensive for states and schools to implement?

The Oklahoma Innovation Index is a low-cost initiative. The Index will be designed to minimize paperwork.

Who should serve on the Oklahoma Innovation Index Task Force?

Ideal task force members will be experienced innovators in their field, including, but not limited to: business, science, education, public policy, engineering, artistic development, workforce development and cultural development. The Task Force should have representation from a wide range of endeavors requiring a creative workforce, including technology, research, engineering, business, design, architecture and the arts.

Is there a prototype for the Index?

No. Developing a creative workforce is a unique issue for each state. Therefore, the process of creating the Index is as important and unique as its implementation. The Oklahoma Innovation Index Task Force will foster debate, generate news, and draw attention to the issue of creativity. The more people who join the debate, the better the schools will become at fostering creativity.

Should there be one national Index?

The goal is to make creativity and innovation a part of every student’s skill set. However, there is no single path to achieve that goal. Since educational policy decisions are typically made at the state and local level, each state should develop its own Index to support their own school culture and workforce needs.