GUEST COLUMN: How we know your child is academically successful

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By The Staff

With all of the publicity in the news media about “no more CATS”, you may be wondering what that means for your child?  There will still be assessment and accountability in Kentucky during the 2009/10 and 2010/11 school years.  The Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) will be given again this year for students in 3rd – 8th grades and 10th and 11th grades.  This test will be given across the state from April 19 - April 30.  Each school will have six days during that period of time in which to give the tests.  Make-up tests can be given on any day during that 10-day period.  Here’s a breakdown of which content areas will be tested at which grade levels:

3rd grade – reading and math

4th grade – reading, math, science

5th grade – reading, math, social studies, and on-demand writing

6th grade – reading and math

7th grade – reading, math, science

8th grade – reading, math, social studies, and on-demand writing

10th grade – reading

11th grade – math, science, social studies

All public schools in Kentucky will be held accountable for how well they do on the KCCT through No Child Left Behind (NCLB).  The percentage of students scoring proficient/distinguished in the reading and math sections is a major part of the calculation.  Plus, for the first time, how students perform in social studies, science, and writing will also be calculated into the formula. 

The Iowa Test of Basic Skills will be given during the week of May 3rd – 7th for students in 3rd – 7th grades.  This is the norm-referenced test that will be given in Kentucky for both reading and math.

The ACT test will be given to all juniors on March 9. 

Locally, Discovery Education’s Predictive Assessment Survey (PAS) will be given between Feb. 22 and March 10  to all 2nd – 11thgraders in reading and math.  This assessment is critically important since teachers use this data to adjust their instruction.   It gives data on how each student is progressing with specific reading and math skills.  Teachers can then target students who need extra help in mastering the skills needed to be proficient readers and mathematicians.  This assessment also is the universal screener for identification of students who need additional services through Response to Intervention (RTI).  This data is used at SCMS and SCHS for placement of students in courses for next year.

Kindergartners and 1st graders will take the Early Skills Assessment between April 12 and April 30.  This provides crucial information to teachers on how each individual student is progressing on the development of their reading and math skills.  Students who are struggling may begin to receive additional instruction through Response to Intervention (RTI). 

Each of these assessments serves as a measuring tool for how well each individual student is progressing toward reaching the standards.  It is crucial that your child gives each assessment his best effort.  Spencer County Public Schools is dedicated to making sure your child is successful.