Long-awaited test scores will be available Nov. 2, and a spokesman for the Kentucky Department of Education says the scores should be viewed in light of what they are – a one-year snapshot under a totally new testing system.
The results are from tests the students took last spring. Parents are expected to receive scores for their children a couple of weeks after the public release, said Lisa Y. Gross, director of the Division of Communications for the Kentucky Department of Education.
Individual child scores are protected under privacy law, Gross said.
The scores, whether individual, school or district, take student achievement tracking into a new realm in Kentucky.
“We’re asking more of students. These standards are tougher,” Gross said.
Local school districts have already received data that they are allowed to look over and can ask for changes if they suspect any errors. That information is embargoed to the general public until shortly after midnight Nov. 2.
Gross said the test scores will be a departure from the previous 20 years of consistent data. The state adopted common core education standards used by several other states, and the new tests are a result of that new standard. In particular, reading and mathematics standards are more rigorous, Gross said.
They are part of what the state calls “Unbridled Learning.” Kentucky implemented the new system beginning in the 2011-12 school year. Each school and district will receive an overall score on a scale of one to 100, something new that allows schools within a district to be compared and districts to be compared with other districts.
“People are going to be scratching their heads over the data,” Gross said, noting the Kentucky Education Department has done several things to prepare parents and educators for the new numbers. The Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence has sponsored several area public meetings to discuss the new tests and the new scores format.
“People are naturally going to look at the previous data,” she said. “There will be a lot of confusion.”
The new testing model holds the individual public schools and districts accountable for achievement, gaps in academic performance, achievement growth, college and career readiness and graduation rates, Gross said.
The schools and districts will be ranked as distinguished (top 10 percent), proficient (top 30 percent) and needs improvement (at or below the 69th percentile), she said.