Superintendents talk school report cards for 2020-2021 year

NICHOLASVILLE/VERSAILLES, Ky. (WTVQ) – It’s been a difficult year for students and teachers due to the pandemic.

Thursday, the Jessamine County Schools administration team met to discuss newly-released Kentucky Summative Assessment report card data from the Kentucky Department of Education. The school district is celebrating its improved graduation rate and reading levels.

“We’re now breaking it down to individual students so we can develop specific plans that are targeting their individual needs,” said Jessamine County Schools Superintendent Matt Moore.

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, despite challenges faced by COVID-19 and new Kentucky Summative Assessment standards, previously known as K-PREP, overall testing results showed that many Kentucky students performed at the proficient or distinguished level, though numbers were slightly low. The department cautions against comparing this data to previous years.

“There’s too much change across this year from 2019–the last time we had any sort of normal testing. It’s not a good practice to look at the trend,” said Kentucky Department of Education Associate Commissioner Rhonda L. Sims.

Superintendent Moore says a better way to measure Jessamine County students’ success is to look at different standardized testing results from the past year.

“We feel like other tools such as a national assessment that we’re using called i-Ready are a much better indicator of our students’ progress this year,” said Moore.

Moore says given the challenges, such as lower student testing participation due to lower enrollment numbers, as well as the change to testing standards, last year’s KSA testing isn’t an accurate reflection of students’ academic ability.

“We really did put it in the category that we felt like we needed to. This data is a starting point, but it’s not a true reflection of the work that occurred last year,” said Moore.

Superintendent Danny Adkins of Woodford County Schools says Woodford County students performed exceptionally well this year, noting that testing attendance, even during the pandemic, was high.

“It’s hard to find the negative with these test scores because we don’t have anything to compare them to,” said Adkins, “All we have is pre-pandemic data and this is the first time we’ve tested since the pandemic started…what we looked at is participation, which was at 91%, which is well above the state average.”

Adkins notes the new, shorter, and online KSA testing format does not make the standardized tests an accurate indicator of student success, though Woodford County performed well.

“We performed above the state average in pretty much every category. We’re very pleased with what we’ve been able to do,” said Adkins.

Both Moore and Adkins said Jessamine County and Woodford County, respectively, would be focusing on its youngest students’ learning levels.

“That’s where the biggest margins are going to be, in our opinion…that’s because the students are learning the building blocks at that point,” said Adkins, “If students are learning phonics, they need to be able to see their teacher’s lips move. They need that interaction one-on-one to learn.”

According to the Kentucky Department of Education, federal relief money will be sent to Kentucky schools to combat learning loss during the pandemic.

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