Tuesday, June 24, 2003

Ky. educators weigh state, federal testing at schools



By Charles Wolfe
The Associated Press

FRANKFORT - Kentucky's public schools could soon have their performance judged two ways - separate measurements for state and federal purposes - with potentially different results and consequences.

The proposal is among those being kicked around as Kentucky tries to decide how to implement the new federal education law known as No Child Left Behind, officials said Monday.

Under the new law, schools that get federal money are to be held accountable for student progress in two subjects - math and reading - on the basis of annual test scores.

Under Kentucky's system, school progress is judged every second year, using two years of data. Testing is across the curriculum, not just in math and reading. And Kentucky has not tested math and reading annually in every grade, 3 through 8, as the federal law requires.

Rather than sacrifice or contort its own system to fit the federal model, Kentucky might simply do both, Deputy Education Commissioner Kevin Noland told a legislative subcommittee. That way, Noland said, the state could keep its testing system and also federal funding, about $300 million a year.

"The down side of that is there may be some confusion" if a school is deemed to be progressing by one measurement and declining by the other, Noland said.

Helen Mountjoy, chairwoman of the Kentucky Board of Education, said the state board has not yet agreed to a dual reporting system.




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