Commissioner Lewis defines ‘novice’ scores as academic emergency

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(ASHLAND, KY) – During the Kentucky Board of Education’s April 10 meeting, Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis presented a report titled “The Meaning and Significance of Novice Performance on Assessments.”

“I have come to understand that while Kentucky has used K-PREP assessments for some time with its accompanying four performance levels for students, there is not widespread understanding of what these performance levels mean,” said Lewis. “K-PREP performance levels, ranging from the Novice to the Distinguished levels, have greater meaning than simply performance levels one through four.”

A student scoring at the Novice performance level on the 8th grade reading and mathematics K-PREP assessment means he or she has a minimal understanding of the standards in reading and math at grade 8; that he or she communicates ideas ineffectively or inaccurately, providing little detail and little or no support; and his or her attempts at problem-solving or critical thinking are minimal or inappropriate.

In 2018 on the 8th grade K-PREP reading and math assessments, 17% of all Kentucky students performed at the Novice level. Nearly a quarter (23%) of economically disadvantaged students performed at Novice in reading and math. More than a third of African American students performed at Novice levels in reading (37%) and math (36%). And in some Kentucky school districts, more than a third of economically disadvantaged students and more than 40% of African American students performed at the Novice levels in reading and math.

“A student scoring at the Novice performance level is in a state of academic emergency,” said Lewis. “Similar to finding a child in a medical emergency situation, an immediate, intentional and skilled instructional response to the student’s academic emergency situation is necessary for recovery. Otherwise, like with a medical emergency, the chances for her academic recovery are slim; and those chances for recovery diminish more and more with each passing week that the emergency is not attended to.”

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