Kentucky’s 8th- and 10th-grade public school students made slight gains in nearly all subject areas on EXPLORE and PLAN assessments administered in the fall of 2011.

In all, 49,310 8th-grade Kentucky students in 325 public schools took the EXPLORE assessment, and 48,955 10th-grade Kentucky students in 230 public schools took the PLAN assessment.

Unlike most other states, all of Kentucky’s 8th- and 10th-grade public school students participate in EXPLORE and PLAN assessments.

ACT, Inc. developed College Readiness Benchmarks in English, mathematics, science and reading and applied those to the EXPLORE and PLAN scores. The benchmarks indicate the degree of college readiness of 8th and 10th graders.

On both the EXPLORE and PLAN assessments, the percentages of Kentucky students meeting benchmarks in English and Reading increased from 2010 to 2011. On PLAN, the percentage of Kentucky students meeting benchmarks in Science also increased from 2010 to 2011

Administration of the EXPLORE, PLAN and ACT assessments, which are provided by ACT, Inc., was mandated by Senate Bill 130 in the 2006 session of the Kentucky General Assembly. The assessments will help schools focus on meeting academic standards across the entire secondary school program. Scores from the assessments will be helpful in measuring student achievement, gauging their readiness for transition and evaluating school programs.

Senate Bill 1, passed in the 2009 session of the Kentucky General Assembly, requires a high school readiness examination in 8th grade and a college readiness examination in 10th grade. EXPLORE and PLAN, respectively, will be used for these purposes, and data from the assessments will be included in the state’s Unbridled Learning: College/Career-Ready for All accountability system.

Both EXPLORE and PLAN help schools pinpoint areas of weakness for individual students and schoolwide curriculum and make changes to improve learning. Schools will analyze their individual results to inform decision-making.

State law (KRS 158.6459) mandates that the Individual Learning Plans of students whose scores on EXPLORE and PLAN indicate that they need additional assistance in particular subject areas will incorporate strategies to help them improve their performance.

To see complete details on district and school EXPLORE and PLAN data by visiting the Kentucky Department of Education’s Open House portal at and accessing the Readiness for College and Career section.