CATS Task Force

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The Kentucky Department of Education’s Assessment and Accountability Task Force was formed to address a number of issues concerning the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS), which were identified during discussions of Senate Bill 1 of the Kentucky Legislature’s 2008 regular session. Although Senate Bill 1 was not enacted, testimony presented as the bill was being deliberated led to widespread recognition that the CATS had a number of problems and also faced a mounting credibility problem with many stakeholders and the general public. As a consequence, Jon Draud, Kentucky Commissioner of Education, volunteered the services and support of his department to host a task force to develop recommendations for the 2009 legislature. Draud did form this task force during the summer of 2008, asking statewide organizations, partner groups and leaders of the Kentucky Senate and House of Representatives to name members. The group’s charge: analyze individual components of CATS and determine the effectiveness of those in meeting the needs of students. View the Members of the 2008 CATS Tast Force

This video, created by education analyst Richard Innes, identifies many of the problems not addressed by the task force.


Meeting Schedule

Location: Kentucky Board of Education, 500 Mero Street, Frankfort, KY

Summary of Task Force Activity

CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 1

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...

View the entire summary...

CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 2

There was considerable informational discussion. This included discussions about assessment types and how they are used. A history of the Kentucky assessment program was presented by Ken Draut. In the discussions it was mentioned that writing portfolios are not being used much, if anywhere else, outside of Kentucky. Part of the problem, according to the task force’s test expert Doris Redfield is that scoring of portfolios isn’t particularly reliable. Redfield indicated a clear preference for on-demand writing tests as a more valid and reliable way to test writing ability...

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CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 3

There wasn’t much consensus during the group’s third meeting. As of the close of this meeting, task force agreement on writing is limited to a general acceptance that writing instruction is important and that writing portfolios are useful instructional tools. However, group consensus quickly breaks down on the very important question of keeping writing portfolios in the state’s CATS school assessments. Opinions generally center in one of two very different camps...

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CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 4

Once again, there was no news coverage anywhere else on this ongoing Kentucky Department of Education effort. The session started with a quick welcome from education commissioner Jon Draud, who called in by telephone from home as he is still recuperating from a recent stroke. The initial report at this meeting concerned the committee’s request for input from educators and the public that was issued after the last meeting. Lisa Gross indicated there were about 200 e-mail responses plus more in faxed returns. Just assembling the e-mails into one Word document required 100 pages...

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CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 5

A major change in the game plan for the task force was announced at this meeting. In his opening comments, Commissioner Jon Draud announced that the findings would have to go before the State Board of Education for their approval...

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CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 6

Meeting 6 focused on proposed changes to the assessment of arts and humanities in the CATS along with yet more discussion on whether to include writing portfolios in the assessment program. There was also some discussion about the underlying standards for courses and the CATS assessment...

View the entire summmary...

CATS Assessment and Accountability Task Force Meeting 7

Meeting 7 ended with few decisions to forward to the Kentucky Board of Education. Topics the task force never seriously addressed include:

  • Alternative Assessments (for: students with learning disabilities/English language learners)
  • Longitudinal Testing Models
  • College Readiness
  • Analysis of EPAS Technical Programs (EPAS is the ACT, Incorporated test program for 8th, 10th and 11th grade students)
  • Timeliness of Test Results
  • End-of-Course Exams

View the entire summary...


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