I thought the Kentucky Department of Education made all the big score-inflating changes to the CATS school assessment program last year.
I was wrong.
It was announced in today’s State Board of Education meeting that yet another score-inflating item had been added to the high schools in 2008. The department changed the way the On-Demand Writing assessment is scored.
The impact is dramatic. Last year, the high schools got an Academic Index score for On-Demand Writing of 55.7913. This year, thanks to the change, the On-Demand writing score skyrocketed up over 16 points to 71.9879.
To put this in perspective, the Academic Index for high school Reading, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Arts & Humanities all declined from 2007 to 2008. Only Writing Portfolios and Practical Living/Vocational Studies showed small improvements of only a few points at best.
But, On-Demand Writing went up so much that it pretty much cancelled out the overall trend of decline in the majority of the CATS subjects.
This just adds more evidence that the CATS is going to get inflated as much as it takes to make the school system look good. If schools don’t perform – no problem; just inflate the scores to cover up the unpleasant facts.
The following table, derived from page 16 of the 2008 CATS Briefing Packet, shows the Academic Index scores across all high school subjects for 2007 and 2008. Check the inflation for yourself.