What’s YOUR Beef with CATS?

With our new blog up and running with a properly functioning comments feature, I have a question for our readers.

What do you think are the biggest problems with the state’s public school assessment program, commonly known as CATS?

I know what I think is wrong, but I want to hear what you are worried about. If you list each concern separately with a short explanation, I may be able to cut and paste your responses right into future Bluegrass Institute publications. If I can use your name with that, please let me know, otherwise the comments will be anonymous.

So, it’s your turn. Please tell us what you think. The kids of Kentucky are counting on you.


  1. Anonymous says:

    We need to get at the root of the problem; the system and the teachers.

    We are testing the wrong people. The teachers need to be tested, not the students. If one can’t teach, the students can’t learn.

  2. Anonymous says:

    CATS has little meaning, because it is not a nationally-normed test that compares our students with others around the country. As I understand it, CATS also has changed over the years, so it cannot even be compared to itself over time. In addition, it is very expensive for Kentucky to have its own separate testing program. CATS is good for bureaucrats and bad for students, parents, and taxpayers.

  3. Richard Innes says:

    To both Anonymous entries from June 22, these are both good points.

    First, on the issue of teacher testing, most of the professions now have not only initial entry tests, but also continuing assessment programs to maintain certification. That is definitely true for professional pilots, nurses, and Certified Public Accountants just to name a few.

    Part of the reason is that things change over time, and continuing assessment insures these people stay up to speed on those changes.

    Why do we give our students a lower level of protection from out of date, or incompletely trained, teachers? After initial certification which is reported to be very undemanding and several years of loosely monitored classroom teaching, our teachers face no more evaluations of any significance for the rest of their careers. The art and science of teaching is changing like everything else, but too many kids are stuck in classrooms with teachers who are not keeping up with the changes.

    The comments about CATS lacking national comparisons and being unstable over time are also dead on. We have written extensively about these major deficiencies in Kentucky’s home-grown testing program.