Districts have long been warning parents that students scored much lower on last year’s end-of-course and end-of-grade test scores. That’s because tests have changed and standards are higher. Today, we’ll finally learn how school districts performed on those tests. WFAE’s Lisa Miller joins us in the studio.
LM: Hi Kevin.
KK: Now, we do have some inkling of how big a drop this could be.
LM: Yes, we do. We know the percentage of kids across the state deemed proficient or higher. That’s scoring a three or four. And in most subjects less than half of kids were proficient. That’s a big drop from the year before. For example, under the new system, only 47 percent of third-grader are deemed proficient in reading. The year before it was 63 percent. The biggest drop is in 8th grade math. Only 35 percent of kids across the state are deemed proficient. In 2012, 80 percent were.
KK: How have the tests and standards changed?
LM: Well, the state has retooled the tests. They’re designed to assess students based on more rigorous standards under the Common Core. For example, some eighth grade math is now being taught in 6th grade.
KK: When will parents receive those scores?
LM: They’ll receive them next month. And it’s important for them to know that there are no penalties based on these scores, partly because they’re coming out so late. That’s not going to be the case for the tests that will be taken this school year.
KK: So the state’s position is no excuses, you have to catch up now?
LM: Yes, but the state board of education expects scores will improve this year, but not necessarily to previous levels. The end-of-grade tests are especially important for third graders. If they don’t score proficient, they may have to go to a summer reading camp. Now, Kentucky went through this whole process in 2012. The state had similar drops in scores that year. In 2013, scores were better, but not by much.
KK: Thanks, Lisa.
LM: Thank you.