4:22pm

Mon June 13, 2011
Statehouse News

Assessment Exams to Begin

New statewide, end-of-course, assessment exams begin this coming school year for Kentucky high school students.   The tests were authorized in education reforms approved by Kentucky lawmakers in 2009.  The statewide tests measure student achievement in graduation-required courses of English, Algebra, Biology and U.S. History. 

Rhonda Sims of the Education Department says districts are also being encouraged to base up to 20 percent of a student’s final course grade on assessment test results. 

“It does allow the course work and the assessment to blend together, so the students have some ownership into this.”

The tests include both multiple choice and written response questions, and students should know the results within ten days.  Sims says the tests align well with college readiness criteria and student performance can be compared to similar test results in other states.

NOT MANDATED

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says districts are being encouraged, not mandated, to base up to 20 percent of a student’s final course grade on assessment test results. 

“We wanted a requirement, but our legal staff felt like we didn’t have the authority," said Holliday.  "There’s some site-based council issues here.  So, we strongly worded 20 percent because teachers all over the commonwealth told me kids need to have some accountability for this.”

ONLINE TESTING

Commissioner Terry Holliday says the tests are both multiple choice and written response, and the multiple choice can be taken online. 

“Florida just did it with Algebra I - the entire state, online.  Oregon’s been doing this for years.  So, our strategy is to help districts with the capacity to do the online model and to give them lots of suggestions on how to get that done.”