Their View: Commonwealth not in compliance with current test
A new study reinforces the view that the state's student testing system is badly flawed and should be replaced with more reliable measurements of academic performance.
Richard Innes, an education policy analyst for the Bowling Green-based Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, studied the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System and concluded that it doesn't provide adequate information on the progress of students who have traditionally lagged behind in public school classrooms - minorities, children from poor families and students with disabilities.
The federal No Child Left Behind Education reform law requires states to closely track the performance of these students. Schools are held accountable if students don't make progress toward achieving academic goals.
Innes says the CATS test, which was designed to measure the performance of schools, not individual students, does not meet the standards of the No Child Left Behind accountability program. The state's testing policy “makes it impossible to track student performance over time,” Innes writes. As a result, the state is escaping accountability for the performance of minorities and students with learning disabilities.
These are serious criticisms, especially given evidence that indicates students from poor families, especially minorities, are not making up academic ground in Kentucky. Without reliable testing data on individual students and student subgroups, the state education establishment can continue to leave children behind and not suffer any consequences.
But the root of the problem is not flawed testing policies - it's the test itself. The CATS test, like its discredited predecessor, the Kentucky Instructional Results Information System, does not give a clear, accurate picture of academic achievement. Therefore, CATS cannot serve as the foundation for a genuine accountability system.
- The Paducah (Ky.) Sun