CATS Task Force Meeting 1

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This is a summary of CATS Task Force Meeting 1

August 5, 2008

The meeting included three hours of discussions, starting with Commissioner Draud’s comments that he really wasn’t interested in making lots of changes to CATS. His main goal: to get legislators and the public more comfortable with the existing CATS assessment and make minor changes that won’t seriously alter the current program.

Some of the CATS problems included slow score turn-around times that mean schools can’t use CATS to help plan curriculum (committee member Steve Stevens), issues with whether writing portfolios help or hurt writing instruction (committee member Sharron Oxendine and echoed by several teachers in the audience), questions about how to make individual students accountable (probably impossible with the current “matrixed” form of CATS where different students get tested on different subsections of the overall curriculum) and so forth.

There were no main decisions reached at this meeting (a partial laundry list of items for further discussion was to be finalized and sent out later) – with one notable exception. When department of education staff tried to establish a task force schedule with just one meeting a month until November, this limited work schedule was quickly rejected. It was clear that the task force members took their assignment seriously and wanted to give this effort far more time than the department of education anticipated.

As a note, no press reporters attended this meeting or any of the four meetings that followed. Thus, the account here and in the Bluegrass Policy Blog are about the only records of the task force readily available to the public.

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