Attention parents and educators: prepare to be confused when trying to make sense of this year's Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) results this year.
The results of the test, which measures students' knowledge in core content areas, were made public Oct. 2 and the test underwent several changes before students were tested this past spring.
Assistant superintendents for both Williamstown and Grant County's school districts said that parents can take away positives from their respective school and districts' results."I think parents can take the results as another gauge as to how their school or district is doing. It is the relationship that the parent has with their school or district that makes a difference," said Grant County assistant superintendent Carol Horn.Williamstown assistant superintendent Sally Skinner said the Williamstown School District placed 12th out of 176 districts in terms of test scores."Our parents should feel confident sending their children to a school that puts education in high regard and our test results show that," Skinner said. "We are going to continue increasing the rigor of our curriculum and every staff member plays a role in our success. We have some celebrating to do."
The changes included redesigned tests, the addition of tests and the addition of grade levels that take those tests. As a result, a school cannot make a straight comparison of this year's scores with last year's, according to the Kentucky Department of Education. Therefore, the department has released two scores to each school and district.One score is a non-adjusted score, which has been changed to comply with legislative and federal requirements. This score is the same that has been received every year since CATS went into effect in 2000, and is used for informational purposes.The second score is the result of a concordance table, or statistical link.
This score is the one that matters toward each school's goal of reaching proficiency, which is a score of 100, by 2014.The concordance table is created by lining up each school's CATS scores this year from highest to lowest. They're often used to compare ACT and SAT test scores, so that schools can use one test result to gauge how a student might perform on the other.
"Parents may read about the two scores and wonder what it is all about. The scores do not affect what is going on in the classroom, but rather it focuses on accountability," Horn said....
...Here are the changes made to the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System.
The cut scores, or the score range for each level (novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished) in which students are placed based on their performances, have changed.
Reading and math tests were added to grades three and six, math was added to grades four, seven and 10, and reading was added to grades five, eight and 11...
All high school juniors must take the ACT beginning in spring 2008, eighth-grade students must take Explore, a high school readiness exam, and 10th-graders will take the PLAN exam, a precursor to the ACT. Both the ACT and PLAN will factor into CATS scores. It hasn't been determined whether Explore will be. The changes were required by the General Assembly.
Changes were made to how each of the seven subjects tested (including reading, math, science and writing) are weighted in the overall score.
In several subjects, multiple-choice responses now count as 50 percent of the entire score and open-response answers count as 50 percent....
...The assessment process for special-needs students has changed, resulting in many having to reach more goals....
This from the Grant County News