State testing begins for thousands of students in JCPS, Kentucky - WDRB 41 Louisville News

State testing begins for thousands of students in JCPS, Kentucky

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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Testing season has arrived and that means thousands of students in Jefferson County Public Schools -- and across Kentucky -- will sit down to take end of year assessments to show how much they've learned during the 2016-17 year.

Kentucky law mandates that state testing take place during the last 14 days of the school year.

In JCPS, students in grades 3-8 and grades 10 and 11 will spend several hours this week taking the K-PREP standardized exam in math, language arts and writing. Which exam a student takes depends on what grade they are in.

The stakes are high as schools are judged and rated based on how well students perform on the tests. 

Last year, JCPS test scores showed that more than half of the district's students were not performing on grade level in reading and math.

The scores also showed that only 66 of the district's 139 tested schools met their annual performance goal set by the Kentucky Department of Education -- down from 74 schools in 2014-15 and 96 schools in 2013-14.

While the scores can impact whether a school is placed in priority status, they can also impact individual students as some magnet schools use them in determining who they admit each year. 

This is the last year the state will report test scores under its current Unbridled Learning Accountability System, which has been in place for the past few years.

Kentucky will move to a new testing and accountability system next year and use 2017-18 scores as the baseline for its new system, which is still being designed and will be submitted to the U.S. Department of Education this fall.

The state's work stems from congressional passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act. That law shifts much of the oversight and responsibility for schools from the federal government to the states. That includes how accountability is determined and how to define and improve low-performing schools.

Over the past five years, 21 schools in Jefferson County have been identified as priority schools for having chronically low test scores.

Results from this round of testing are expected to be released in October. 

In addition to K-PREP, the high school students take end of course exams and the testing window for those began last week.

Students who take Advanced Placement courses will also take those tests beginning this week. 

Reporter Antoinette Konz covers K-12 education for WDRB News. She can be reached at 502-585-0838 or @tkonz on Twitter.

Copyright 2017 by WDRB News. All rights reserved.

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