Thursday, April 17, 2003

N.Ky. schools bracing for tests



By William Croyle
Enquirer contributor

Teachers, students, parents and school administrators across Kentucky are about to embark on one of the most important weeks of the year - the CATS testing period.

The Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) is the multi-part test administered in all Kentucky public schools to measure school and student performance.

CATS TESTING
School (grades)Date
BeechwoodApril 21-May 2
BellevueMay 5-16
Boone CountyMay 5-16
Campbell CountyMay 5-16
Covington (K-7)April 28-May 9
Covington (8-12)April 21-May 2
DaytonMay 5-16
Erlanger-ElsmereMay 5-16
Fort ThomasApril 21-May 2
Kenton CountyMay 5-16
LudlowApril 28-May 9
NewportApril 28-May 9
Silver GroveMay 5-16
Southgate (K-5)April 28-May 9
Southgate (6-8)May 5-16
Walton-VeronaMay 5-16
It's a high stakes test because, in Kentucky, sweeping education reform law enacted in 1990 links school performance to school funding.

CATS includes the Kentucky Core Content Test, writing portfolios and an alternate portfolio for students with severe to profound disabilities.

Education Commissioner Gene Wilhoit is straightforward when he gives parents information about the tests.

"Schools that do well receive financial rewards. Schools that do poorly receive help to improve."

All schools in Kentucky are measured on improvement toward a goal, and are expected to reach the "proficient" score standard of 100 on a 140-point scale by 2014.

There is a 10-day testing period that must be scheduled sometime each spring. Northern Kentucky school districts have scheduled the tests beginning as early as Monday and finishing as late as May 16.

The state offers these tips for parents whose children are taking the tests:

• Know when the tests are scheduled and keep up with the results.

• Remind the child the importance of reading the directions carefully and not rushing through a test.

• Don't schedule appointments, trips or interruptions during testing.

More information on CATS is available at www.kentuckyschools.org.




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