Governor Speaks Out Against CATS Test Reform

Frankfort 4th grade teacher Melissa Rash believes in the CATS Test.

“I think writing is very important in communicating and teaching kids to be life long learners,” she said.

But some KY Senate Republicans think much of the test with its open ended questions and writing portfolios for 4th graders isn't needed.

“The CATS Test is unpopular across the board from a great majority of educators because it is ineffectual,’ says Sen. President David Williams, R-Burkesville.

However, Governor Steve Beshear says not so. Flanked by some big guns in Kentucky education such as KEA and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, he called a news conference to announce he's against Senate Bill One, which would more or less replace much of the writing in the test with multiple choice questions.

“Senate Bill One eliminates test questions requiring students to explain what they know,” said Gov. Beshear, D-Kentucky.

But Williams claims the current test is not preparing children for college. “What is irrefutable is that over 60% going to KCTCS are not ready for college level work in mathematics.”

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  • by Traci Location: Salyersville on Mar 6, 2008 at 08:55 AM
    I think that if WKYT is going to interview a teacher regarding the CATs testing system I think that Melissa Rash was not a good canidate since she has a few years teaching experience under her belt! (public record The majority of the teachers believe that CATs is actually not benefiting our students due to the fact that the writing that students are required to do for the CATs does not adequately prepare them for college. For example, spending an entire year polishing portfolio entries does not reflect a persons ability to write in real time. In reality, life does not give you a year to revise writing pieces. Neither does college. Answer this question... why have colleges across the state had to add so many remedial courses in the past several years? CATs needs input from more than just the Governor and Melissa Rash! An I too, am an educator for the state of Kentucky that has a few more credentials than Ms. Rash! Governor Beshear needs to get more input B-4 a veto
  • by School Location: Employee on Mar 5, 2008 at 07:54 PM
    I have been in the district enough to know that CATS isn't working. Portfolios aren't working. Teachers don't teach one subject in order to cover an assessed subject. My 4th grade child isn't being taught social studies because he isn't tested in it. And it's Kentucky History!!! Is this not crazy. The Governor has no idea how the CATS assessment is (or rather is not) working, and he has no idea how much instructional time is lost when students have to complete those portfolios that mean NOTHING. This proves that he really doesn't care about Kentucky's children if he does not support this. In fact he has said that the money is more important. And if you notice in the video, the 4th grade teacher that opposes the bill, her walls are covered with the test answers!!! Proof that the test isn't accurate. Wake up Gov. Beshear and at least pretend you care about us. But, after all, if you save money by doing away with CATS and portfolios, you have no justification for gambling!!!
  • by Christy Location: Paintsville on Mar 5, 2008 at 07:21 PM
    The CATS test does not prepare our students for college. In order to be eligible for college scholarships and most importantly for college level courses our students need to have satisfactory ACT scores. The CATS test and ACT test content are in no way related. So, the real question is - Do we keep in place the test that does not prepare our students for college or do we get smart and attempt to give our students what they need for a bright future?
  • by Kentucky Location: Educator on Mar 5, 2008 at 06:02 PM
    I have taught school for almost 20 years and I've seen the CATS test deteriorate the education of Kentucky since it's implementation. Students aren't properly evaluated. Teachers are allowed to put all the answers on the walls of the classroom. And why would you have a test that doesn't evaluate the student, but evaluate the school? All Gov. Beshear wants is his federal $$ at any cost, including the cost of the education of our children. It doesn't matter that to change it would save more money than we would lose in federal funds. It doesn't matter that our children cannot compete in the current world workplace. All that matters is that "free" money from Washington. And the portfolios aren't written by the students. They are prompted to write what is needed to score well. Finally, CATS test scores mean NOTHING when a college is looking at you. They want ACT scores, and the CATS test doesn't prepare them for the ACT. When teachers are allowed to TEACH, students will do better.


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