Refusing to let CATS die, the ‘KERA Amen Chorus’ has developed its own ‘home-brewed,’ CATS-like school ‘assessment’ scoring scheme. The Herald-Leader, which often sings soprano for KERA, is using the results from this dubious program in a new on-line search tool.
Somehow, this feeble attempt to prolong CATS seems rather pathetic.
The Kentucky legislature unanimously killed the CATS public school assessment and accountability system for cause during the 2009 regular legislative session. It was an act of mercy long overdue.
Legislators realized that the CATS system was doing more harm than good, misleading us into a feel-good sense of complacency about our public schools that didn’t match the stark reality of high levels of college freshmen needing remedial course work and of constant complaints from business and industry that the state’s schools still were not producing the educated workforce needed.
The legislature also realized that CATS scores, as we have pointed out before, were getting more and more inflated, growing more out of line over time with results from other tests like the ACT and the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Scores were rising, but that didn’t seem to reflect an accurate image of the real picture.
The bottom line is the CATS assessment formula gave us misleading information, so the legislature voted to shut the program down cold turkey instead of permitting it to fester on while we worked on a new assessment program. Any misguided efforts to bother schools and the public with an aped image of this failed assessment are unlikely to do much more than distract us from the important job of getting our schools oriented on a better track while we work to get the new assessment right.
The KERA Amen Chorus needs to get over CATS and shift their time and talents toward helping us get a really good assessment program for Kentucky. Our kids and our schools deserve no less.