Thursday, May 29, 2014

Kentucky schools will use EXPLORE, PLAN exams for two more years

KDE says state gets special extension from testing firm
This from KSBA: 
Kentucky middle and high school staff involved in testing student achievement got some good news Friday: the state has been granted the OK to continue using EXPLORE and PLAN tests for another year, despite ACT Inc.'s intent to close out the tests after 2014.
In his Fast Five on Friday email to district and state leaders, Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced the change.

"ACT, Inc. planned to discontinue production of both ACT EXPLORE and ACT PLAN after the 2014-15 school year. However, they offered both assessments to a limited number of states, including Kentucky, for one additional school year, 2015-16," Holliday said. "The current plan is for students across Kentucky to take the ACT EXPLORE and ACT PLAN in September 2014 and September 2015."

The commissioner also said a proposed business sale involving ACT Inc. won't change things for Kentucky schools.

"Recently, Cambridge Educational Services sent an e-mail notification that 'effective June 2014, it (ACT) will no longer offer its PLAN and EXPLORE tests.' This does NOT apply to Kentucky. Any resale of test documents Cambridge purchased from ACT is a legal debate between those two entities. It does not affect the contract KDE has with ACT to provide these tests in September 2014 and 2015," Holliday said.

In January, Education Week reported the Iowa City, Iowa-based ACT Inc. plans to replace EXPLORE and PLAN with a new test called ASPIRE. The ASPIRE exam reportedly would more closely align with measuring student mastery skills in common core standards subjects. Additionally, the ASPIRE test is to be geared for use in all grades 3-11.

Kentucky middle and high schools have used EXPLORE (Grade 8) and PLAN (Grade 10) since the 2006 General Assembly required new high school and college readiness measurements.

According to information on the KDE website, the EXPLORE program is a high school readiness examination designed to help eighth graders explore a broad range of options for their future. The exam assesses four subjects (English, mathematics, reading and science) and provides needs assessments and other components to help students plan for high school and beyond.

The PLAN program helps tenth graders build a solid foundation for future academic and career success and provides information needed to address school districts' high-priority issues. The exam assesses four subjects (English, mathematics, reading and science) and is a predictor of success on the ACT.

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