Editor’s note: Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), enacted in the 2009 Kentucky General Assembly, requires a new public school assessment program beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. Kentucky Teacher is doing a series of stories explaining the Unbridled Learning: College/Career Readiness for All assessment and accountability system this month. This article focuses on middle school assessment. Future stories will focus on high school assessment and accountability. The system is subject to United States Education Department approval and may be changed prior to adoption.
By Matthew Tungate
Kentucky’s previous assessment and accountability system was based on the idea of getting students, schools and districts to “proficiency.” But proficiency was an abstract concept, Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner Larry Stinson said – and it left something to be desired in practicality.
“We have way too many students who would qualify to graduate, but they’re not ready to do anything,” he said. “So we were looking for a way to say, ‘If you are graduating from high school in Kentucky, you have some skills that you can use at that next level.’ And this is the way to go about it.”
So the state is defining proficiency based on college and career readiness, he said, and the ACT is the capstone measurement for determining it. The ACT provides an extremely strong research-based prediction of college readiness and plays a major part in Kentucky’s College/Career Readiness indicator. That is why all 11th-grade students take the ACT. The ACT PLAN test, given to all 10th-grade students in Kentucky, provides a direct connection from its scores to a predicted ACT score, thus linking early high school work to college readiness. Continue Reading