Friday, March 07, 2008

Press Release: Senate approves testing change

March 7, 2008
Contact: Martin Cothran

Phone: 859-329-1919

“It’s time to put CATS to sleep.”
Martin Cothran

Family group praises Senate vote to replace CATS

LEXINGTON, KY—“We are pleased to see that lawmakers are finally heeding years of calls for changing the state’s testing system,” said Martin Cothran, senior policy analyst for The Family Foundation. “The CATS test has had 10 years to prove itself—18 if you count its prior incarnation as KIRIS—and it has yet to do so. How many generations of Kentucky’s children are we going to hold hostage to the reputations of those who have tied their political fortunes to the success of KERA? It’s time to put CATS to sleep.”

Senate Bill 1 was passed by the Kentucky State Senate in a 22-15 vote. The bill would replace the CATS testing system with a more objective, easier-to-administer-and-grade multiple choice test that would give reliable scores for individual students. CATS currently includes “open response” questions and portfolios that have been criticized as subjective and unreliable.

“This bill would give our testing system five things it doesn’t have now,” said Cothran. “It would be objective, easy to administer, easy to grade, reliable on an individual level, and would give us quicker feedback on how our students—and schools—are doing.”

Cothran was one of the most vocal critics of the testing system, and his criticisms led to some of the changes in KIRIS that resulted in the CATS test. He also served on the Assessment and Accountability Subcommittee of the Governor’s Task on Education Reform under former Gov. Paul Patton. He was the author of the minority report for the subcommittee.


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