In another example of how Kentucky’s complex and time-consuming to grade Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessments lead to long turn-around times for results, the Courier-Journal just announced that parents in Jefferson County are just now getting the results for their children from the last school term’s assessment cycle.
How is a parent supposed to intelligently interact with the school and make informed decisions about their child’s education when the scores don’t arrive until well after the start of the next school term?
Senate Bill 1 from the 2009 Regular Legislative Session does not specify a turn around time for results to parents, but it does mandate that schools and districts should get results no later than 75 days after the start of the state’s end-of-term testing window. While Kentucky Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday claims schools did receive scores around the first of August, those were only preliminary results for schools to error-check. The final report to schools only arrived a short time before the results were publicly released on September 27, 2013, well after school had started, again.
That’s a whole lot longer than the 75-day window allowed by Senate Bill 1. It’s too late for schools to make orderly use of the final, corrected data to adjust curriculum prior to the start of the new school term.
Unfortunately, delayed return of assessment results has been a constant problem with Kentucky’s reform assessments ever since the beginning of KERA-based testing in the early 1990s. Continuous reliance on difficult and time-consuming to score open-response questions has played a major factor in this untimely return of scores.
So far, it seems no-one knows how to fix this problem. In the two years that K-PREP has been in operation, Kentucky already has been forced to drop open-response questions in all of its K-PREP high school End-of-Course exams. The ACT, Inc., a highly reputable testing outfit, was unable to provide timely turn-around of scoring on those questions at a cost Kentucky could bear.
The shortage of qualified testing companies and the scoring logistics needed for timely scoring of open-response question seems likely to get worse as Common Core pushes more states to use open-response questions in their assessments.
To be sure, there is some value in open-response questions, but it may be that the realities of life make it impossible to include such questions in end-of-year testing programs if a reasonable turn-around time for scores is ever be achieved, whether that is to school systems or parents.