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2007 CATS Scores Released; Elementary Students Score Well In Reading; CHECK YOUR SCHOOL

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Most of the 428 thousand Kentucky students who took the reading portion of government-mandated achievement
tests in April scored either "proficient" or "distinguished," the highest ratings awarded.

That's good news in a state that's on a push to improve its academic standings.

Spokeswoman Lisa Gross of the Kentucky Department of Education says the state has put greater focus on reading for a few years
now, and the results are showing up in the scores. She says the emphasis is because a good foundation in reading translates into
greater achievement in other areas too.

Of the elementary students tested in reading, 72 percent scored in proficient and distinguished ranges. Amond middle school students, 66 percent were at the proficient or distinguished levels. And for high school students, 60 percent tested proficient
or distinguished in reading.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Exerpt from the KED website
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) -- Results from the 2007 administration of the Kentucky Core Content Tests (KCCT) show that scores for all grade levels and subject areas are moving toward proficient levels.

Scores from the April 2007 administration of the KCCT, the primary component of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS), were released today. Nonacademic data, which also is a component of school and district accountability indices, was released in May.

More than 400,000 students in grades 3-12 participate in the annual assessments, which cover seven subject areas: reading, mathematics, science, social studies, arts & humanities, practical living/vocational studies and writing. Schools are held accountable for their students’ performance on the tests and for nonacademic factors, such as dropout, attendance and retention rates.

There were a number of changes to the testing and accountability system that affect the data reported for the 2007 administration:

  • The Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) was based on a revised Core Content for Assessment 4.1.

  • The KCCT used a new test design.

  • Assessments in on-demand writing and practical living/vocational studies were moved to new grades.

  • Assessments in reading and mathematics were added to accomplish annual testing of those content areas in grades 3-8 as required by No Child Left Behind.

  • Legislative requirements were passed that Kentucky public school students participate in the ACT and its companions, PLAN and EXPLORE.

  • The Alternate Assessment program was revised and includes three components: Portfolios, Attainment Tasks and Transition Attainment Record. Separate scores are reported for each content area.
     
  • These changes required that Kentucky examine the student performance standards that define the student performance categories of novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished (NAPD). During the summer of 2007, Kentucky teachers participated in standard-setting processes for the Kentucky Core Content Test and the Alternate Assessment program. Existing standards were validated, or standards were set for new assessments. The standard-setting process yielded new cut scores that identify when a student moves from one performance level category to another.

Because of the multiple changes to the assessment and accountability program, the National Technical Advisory Panel on Assessment and Accountability (NTAPAA) felt a statistical process to link old CATS (2000-2006) and new CATS (2007) was necessary and appropriate.

Since the Kentucky Board of Education wished to keep accountability index targets in place and that state-level trends in accountability indices are stable over time, NTAPAA proposed the use of a concordance approach that would link the old and new CATS and allows Kentucky to compare two different tests from two different years.

With concordance, the accountability index in 2007 is linked to the original goals schools are expected to meet every two years, which keeps accountability moving forward. The concordance link is made at the accountability index level only. School baselines are not recalculated, and growth lines are not redrawn.

The data reported today will include nonadjusted and adjusted accountability index scores, content-area scores and overall nonacademic indices. Both the nonadjusted and adjusted index scores provide valuable information, depending on whether they are used for accountability or instruction.

  • The Adjusted Accountability Index continues accountability. It links the 2007 performance to the past system. The score is related to the performance trends, the original goal and assistance lines in a school’s or district’s growth chart. 
     
  • The Nonadjusted Accountability Index and Content Area Indices provide the connection to the absolute goal of proficiency (100) by 2014. It is the first instructional look at the current position of a school or district compared to absolute goal of proficiency. Nonadjusted data is calculated for 2007 using new content area weights and new cut scores for student performance (novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished).
  • Through data analysis, schools and districts can focus on instruction with the future in mind and celebrate the good work that has occurred by focusing on two data purposes — accountability and instruction.

Student performance is categorized with four levels: novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished. The lowest percentages of novices by subject area are in writing at the elementary level (4.27 percent); reading at the middle school level (5.83 percent); and reading at the high school level (5.01 percent).

The highest percentages of proficient and above scores by subject area are in reading at the elementary level (72.71 percent); reading at the middle level (66.31 percent); and arts & humanities at the high school level (69.25 percent).

Schools are expected to meet unique, overall goals every two years, with the ultimate goal of 100 – proficiency – on a 140-point scale by 2014. The accountability index scores for 2007 will be combined and averaged with those in 2008 to determine if schools have met their unique goals.

Detailed information about individual school and district scores is available here.

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