Special to The Daily News
Sometime in late October, parents will be receiving new student report cards, according to Dr. Rita Cook, superintendent of Middlesboro Independent Schools.
The student report cards are based on new academic core standards that are very different than they have been before.
These new “standards” describe what students need to learn at different grade levels and the expectation is that students will learn harder content at each grade level. Based on these new standards, every school district in Kentucky can expect to see a drop in student scores, said Cook.
It may helpful to think about the transition being made by your child and their school to new standards and new tests like this: it’s similar to a child who plays basketball on an eight-foot goal in middle school moving up to a 10-foot goal in high school. The child has the same athletic ability that they had in middle school, but the new standard - a 10-foot goal- is tougher and will require some adjustment. It’s reasonable to expect that your child will need time to adjust to the new standards.
In the same way, the new standards our schools and students are being measured by are tougher, she said. The height of the goal has been raised.
It’s reasonable to expect lower scores initially, but the decline should improve as teachers and students become more familiar with the standards and better equipped to meet the challenges they present.
These new standards and assessment have been mandated by Senate Bill 1. Every school district in Kentucky is required, without exception, to implement the standards and state assessment.
Based on the new state standards, only 30 percent of the school districts across the state will be labeled proficient.
For example, local parents, teachers and the public are used to seeing school scores in the range of 80 to 100 in recent years. Those scores were calculated on a scale of 0 to 140. The state now uses a 100-point scale.
Furthermore, state education officials predict that the percentage of students meeting proficiency on the reading and math tests could drop by double digits compared to 2011.
So, parents who are used to seeing proficient or distinguished scores on their child’s test results could be surprised to see them drop to apprentice or novice this year.
State officials caution that the upcoming results can’t be compared to previous years because the test is so different and the scoring has changed.
It would be like comparing the scores of a football game and a basketball game – the numbers are the same, but they mean different things, said Cook.