Fayette County’s winter test results show growth at every grade level tested


LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Some encouraging test result news was released Tuesday night by Fayette County Public Schools (FCPS).

Acting Superintendent Marlene Helm says in a letter home to parents, that the winter MAP test, which stands for Measures of Academic Progress, showed growth at every level tested in grades 1-8.

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The nationally normed assessment is given three times a year to track improvement and ensure students master standards for each grade level.  The MAP test is given to elementary and middle school students.

Helm says even more encouraging, scores earned so far this year at each grade level are nearly identical to the benchmarks earned by students in that same grade level before the pandemic.  It should be noted not all students took part in the MAP testing while learning virtually.

School officials say they think the current cycle of MAP testing will give a more complete picture of where the students are in grades 1-8.

Helm’s letter sent home to parents is below:

Dear Fayette County Public Schools Families:

After today’s meeting with our partners from the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department, I am pleased to share that we continue to see relatively low numbers of community spread, with a 7-day average of new cases of 33. This is a little higher than last week, but the health department team said this morning that some of the increase is coming from a cluster of cases in the detention center.

Since we have not yet reached the two-week mark where spring break travel would affect our data, we remain cautiously optimistic that we will continue to see low transmission rates in Fayette County. Now that our community has reached the “yellow” levels on our FCPS In-Person Learning Matrix, it is going to take continued work to remain there.

All students whose families have chosen in-person learning are back on campus – a benchmark only made possible by efforts, dedication, commitment and determination from everyone in our community. This has not been a one person or one committee effort – this has truly taken a village.

We are grateful to our teachers and instructional teams for their creativity, stamina, and masterful ability to keep kids engaged and connect with families. We celebrate our support staff – especially those in food service, transportation, and maintenance – for their tireless commitment to serving students, families and colleagues. In addition, we recognize our community leaders, community members, and families who leaned into the role of co-teacher, tutor, supporter, and homework monitor.

With just 25 days until the last day of school, we ask everyone to remain vigilant and adhere strictly to the health practices that have gotten us to this point. In the cycle of a school year, this is one of the most important times for us to be together in-person, because concepts and skills taught over the previous months begin to merge into mastery.

At our elementary and middle schools, students are taking spring assessments designed to gauge their learning in reading and math. Known as the MAP test – short for Measures of Academic Progress – this nationally normed assessment is given three times a year to track improvement and ensure students master standards for each grade level.

I am pleased to share that data from the winter tests showed growth at every grade level tested – first through eighth. Even more encouraging, scores earned in 2021 at each grade level were nearly identical to the benchmarks earned by students in that same grade level prior to the pandemic. We recognize that not all students participated in MAP testing while they were learning virtually, so this current cycle is critical to get a complete picture.

It is important for us to remember that the 2020-21 school year was a school year. It was certainly different from ever before, but teachers were teaching, students were learning, and support was being provided. Now that our students have returned in-person, we are using our remaining time this school year to pinpoint areas where support is needed and target our efforts to ensure that our students are ready for the next challenge.

Programs like Summer Ignite, which will be offered at 69 sites in June and July, will play a role in further shoring up areas of need. We are also looking ahead to supports needed for the 2021-22 school year. Our sense of urgency has never been greater to not simply return to normal, but to reimagine a normal that personalizes learning and helps every child reach their unlimited potential.


Marlene Helm

Fayette County Public Schools Acting Superintendent

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Tom Kenny joined ABC 36 News in June of 2001 as a General Assignment Reporter. A native of Peoria, Illinois, he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications from Western Illinois University. He currently anchors ABC 36 News at 5pm, 6pm and 11pm. Tom has more than three decades of experience in broadcast journalism. He is the only broadcast journalist in Lexington television history to be honored with a national Edward R. Murrow Award. Tom was recognized for reporting on a story that gave a rare glimpse inside the secretive world of the Federal Witness Protection Program. He has won an Emmy Award for anchoring and another for investigative reporting, exposing the deceit and potential danger of online diploma mills. Tom has ten other Emmy nominations to his credit for investigative and feature reporting. He has won Associated Press Awards for reporting and anchoring. He has won two Addy Awards for excellence in promotional writing. Tom was the first broadcast journalist in Lexington TV history to be awarded the Silver Circle Award by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. It is one of the highest honors given by NATAS. It recognizes television professionals who have performed distinguished service within the television industry for 25-years or more. Tom was honored for more than his longevity, he was recognized for making an enduring contribution to the vitality of the television industry and for setting high standards of achievement. He was also recognized for giving back to the community as a mentor, educator and volunteer. Tom also has network broadcast experience in radio and television having worked as a sports reporter for ESPN, Sportschannel, NBC Sports and the Breeders’ Cup. He was also the studio host and halftime producer for CBS Radio Sports’ College Football Game of the Week and covered the NFL for One-On-One Radio Sports. Prior to joining WTVQ-TV, Tom was Vice-President of the Houston Astros Minor League baseball team in Lexington. He was part of the original management team that brought professional baseball back to the Bluegrass after a nearly 50-year absence. Tom has lived in Lexington since 1984. In that time, he has been heavily involved with dozens of charity and civic groups, with a special emphasis on helping Veterans. He can be reached at tkenny@wtvq.com. You can also follow Tom on Facebook www.facebook.com/TomKennyABC and Twitter @TomKennyNews. Just click on the links at the top of the page.