Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

October 12, 2012

Scores to be low?

Results of first K-PREP tests no cause to abandon effort

The Independent

ASHLAND — Officials at Tuesday’s Kentucky Board of Education were told the results of the state’s new tests for public school students will not be released until late October or possibly even early November. The results had been anticipated for the middle of this month.

If the predictions of Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holiday are accurate, the delay could postpone the arrival of bad news for many school districts and their students.

Holiday has been warning for months that students, parents, teachers and administrators should expect test scores to drop, perhaps even dramatically. In fact, during a tour of the state Holiday took with David Adkisson, president of the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, in June, the state’s top public education executive expressed concern the scores will be so low that some members of the Kentucky General Assembly, school administrators, teachers and parents will call for the the new tests to be scrapped and replaced with a revised version of the old state manadated tests.

 That can’t be allowed to happen, Holiday warned, and he’s right.  Backing away from the demanding new tests would be a step backwards for quality education in Kentucky.

Kentucky was one of the first states to adopt the ational corps of education standards, and the new K-PREP tests are based on new benchmarks established by those standards.

The tests are more diffcult because the education expectations of students are higher. It is going to take awhile for Kentucky to adjust its classroom teaching to meet the higher standards, but it is a goal worth achieving. Too many students are graduating from high school lacking the basic skills they need for success in college and even the workplace. The only way to eliminate this negative is to raise our expectations.

If Kentucky were to lower its high standards in response to low test scores, it would be bowing to mediocrity. That’s unacceptable.

We hope Holiday is wrong and the scores on the K-PREP will be much higher than he expects. But if they are not, we must not abandon the high expectations just because too few of our young people are reaching them. Instead, we must find a way to increase the achievements of our public schoolchildren. That’s the only proper response to low test scores.