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Testing in Kentucky: An Overview

A GreatSchools guide to standardized tests

By GreatSchools Staff

Although test results are only one measure of student achievement, they have become increasingly important in assessing student learning. In 2007-2008 Kentucky used the Kentucky Core Content Tests (KCCT) to assess students in grades 3 through 8 and 10 through 12. Grades 3 through 8 and 10 were tested in reading; grades 3 through 8 and 11 were tested in math; grades 4, 7 and 11 were tested in science; grades 4, 8 and 11 were tested in social studies and arts & humanities; grades 4, 7 and 10 were tested in practical living/vocational studies; and grades 4, 5, 7, 8 and 12 were tested in writing. The KCCT is a standards-based test that measures how well students are mastering specific skills defined for each grade by the state of Kentucky.

Administration of the CTBS/5 was discontinued in 2006-2007.

How are the tests scored?

For the KCCT, Kentucky converts a school's raw scores for each subject into scaled scores and then translates those into one of four performance levels: novice, apprentice, proficient or distinguished. The proficiency levels then get weighted and combined into a numerical scale that ranges from 0 to 140. This results in an academic index for each content area. An academic index of 100 or better is considered proficient by the state. The goal is for all students to score at or above the proficient level.

Which results are included on GreatSchools profiles?

The results displayed on GreatSchools profiles are for accountability purposes and reflect the performance of students who have been enrolled for at least 100 days before testing. The elementary school results displayed on GreatSchools profiles are for grades 3 through 5, combined for each subject. Middle school results are for grades 6 though 8 combined, and high school results are for grades 10 though 12 combined.

Why do the tests matter?

KCCT scores provide an indication of whether students are making progress toward mastery of state content standards. Although Kentucky does not mandate that schools use test results to make decisions regarding grade-level promotion or retention, individual schools may take test performance into account when making such decisions.

It is important to be aware of both your child's score on the assessments and the overall score for his school. If your child scores below the standards, contact his teacher to discuss getting additional assistance, and to find out how you can support your child's learning at home.

If the school's overall scores are low, ask what steps the school is taking to raise achievement levels for all students, and what you can do to help. Because Kentucky test results help determine whether a given school will receive financial rewards or penalties from the state, your child may be eligible to receive federal and/or state money for tutoring or to transfer to another school.

A few parting words

Although test results can be an indicator of what's happening in the classroom, they don't tell you everything about the quality of a particular school. Always look at more than one measure when judging school performance and visit in person before making any final assessment.

Search for Kentucky Schools.

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