FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 26, 2009) – Saying it is time to move to a new, stronger era of testing and accountability, Gov. Steve Beshear today signed Senate Bill 1, which will overhaul the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) as part of the state’s long-term commitment to education reform.
Gov. Beshear was joined at today’s bill signing ceremony by bill sponsors Sen. Ken Winters and Senate President David L. Williams.
“In 1990, the Kentucky Education Reform Act made it clear that Kentucky was no longer content with its schools and the quality of graduates those schools were producing,” Gov. Beshear said. “KERA was a model for many around the country, but that was nearly two decades ago. I am determined, as we look toward the next two decades, that we seize the opportunity to lead the nation again.”
SB 1 mandates a move toward a new testing and accountability system that will, for the first time, measure individual student achievement over a period of time. That will allow the state to understand how Kentucky students are doing compared to each other and with students nationally.
“A new day is dawning in Kentucky as we move into a new assessment program based on a focused core-content. I am more optimistic than ever for the future of our children,” said Sen. Winters.
SB 1 also mandates closer cooperation between the state’s schools and Kentucky colleges and universities in an attempt to lower the numbers of school children who need remediation.
A new exam system to replace CATS is to be in place for the 2011-2012 school year.
During that interim period, students will continue to complete annual assessments in the core-content areas of math, reading, science and social studies that are used to ensure accountability of individual schools and school districts. Writing portfolios also will be maintained, but will not be part of the testing process.
“We must devise a testing system that holds students, teachers, principals, high-level administrators and the state accountable,” said Gov. Beshear. “We must use this transition period wisely to build the next generation of testing, accountability and assessment. It must be an opportunity to strengthen our commitment to testing and building a better system for the 21st century.”
SOURCE: The Gov