Monday, June 16, 2008

Dale Brown on CATS Task Force

This from the Daily News by way of KSBA:

Brown will help review CATS test

A task force of educators from around the state, including Warren County Schools Superintendent Dale Brown, will get the opportunity to shape Kentucky’s education accountability model.

Brown will join other educators and members of the General Assembly to review the current design of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System. Brown will be representing the Partnership for Successful Schools - a Lexington-based nonpartisan education advocacy organization - on the task force. “With any assessment, we should always be open to review,” Brown said.

The task force will seek input from teachers, administrators, parents, business people, elected officials, education advocacy groups and others. The group will be looking at each component of the accountability model - to determine the effectiveness in meeting the needs of students - and make recommendations toward the future assessment design, Brown said.The group will have its first meeting in July.

The task force is a result of years of legislators looking at ways to overhaul how tudent growth is measured, said Lisa Gross, director of communications for the Kentucky Department of Education. The testing system is key part of the Kentucky
Education Reform Act.“There are a lot of people that just don’t like CATS,” she said. “There has been criticism of the system, and there are legislators that are just not fond of it.”

After Senate Bill 1, which would have replaced CATS with other standardized tests, failed to pass the legislature this year, the Kentucky Department of Education said a statewide task force would be put together by Education Commissioner Jon E. Draud to review the student-testing system after the General Assembly ended.

CATS includes the Kentucky Core Content Test, in which students are tested in seven subject areas; nonacademic data; writing portfolios; alternate assessments for students with severe disabilities; and the ACT college entrance exam and its precursors, PLAN and EXPLORE.

While many legislators question the effectiveness of the state’s accountability model, Brown said it has worked for Warren County Schools.“We are making progress toward proficiency and some schools have already met proficiency,” he said. “But we must always be open to study and make recommendations to improve the current system.”

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