Friday, February 19, 2010

Kentucky school test results could be late – again!

The H1N1 Swine Flu issue last fall and the unusually snowy winter (where is that global warming we hear so much about?) are becoming excuses for a call to delay spring testing with the Kentucky Core Content Tests (KCCT) – again.

We went through all of this last year.

Last year’s test results came back too late for parents to make informed decisions about No Child Left Behind (NCLB) school transfers and too late for schools to use the results to help rework curriculum.

Apparently, we have some slow learners in Frankfort, because nothing was done to fix last year’s problems.

So, here we go again.

Because the KCCT are used for NCLB compliance, Kentucky needs to request a waiver from Washington to delay KCCT testing and reporting.

But, this will be two years in a row for a waiver request.

What if Washington says no way, this time? After all, some think schools need to get test scores on time. Worse, failing to fix last year’s problem doesn’t look very smart.

There is another message here. Part of our problem is due to the fact that we still use left-over, CATS era testing ideas in the current KCCT. The KCCT rely too much on difficult and time consuming to score open response written questions. That’s no longer necessary because advances in testing now allow most of the things we look for with open response questions to be tested with faster-scoring multiple-choice approaches.

Hopefully, people working on our new assessment program will learn from the endemic problems caused by too many open-response questions in our testing program.

But, then I hoped we would have solved last year’s score delays, as well.

And, once again, it’s beginning to look like Kentucky is going to subvert another parent choice option to get their kids out of failing schools.

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