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Students get top marks in pre-CATS exam

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By The Staff

SHEPHERDSVILLE - If the third round of Think Link assessment for local students holds true when the CATS exams are done in May, local school officials feel there will be a lot of celebrating this fall.

However, with the changes in the education reform act, there may not be a public display of those student accomplishments.

So, Bullitt County school officials are making sure there is some mechanism in place to publicize the CATS strides.

“If the numbers hold, wow,” said Greg Schultz, assistant superintendent for student learning.

In comparing the Think Link scores, they were much higher in all categories for the elementary and middle schools. In fact, even if the Think Link scores were a bit too high, they would still surpass last year’s CATS marks.

With changes by Senate Bill 1 during the past legislative session, CATS is basically no more. New assessments and new scoring tools will be put into place.

Schultz said the CATS testing would continue in the district, even in some areas that it would not be required.

When the results are received around September, Schultz said the state would not compile the academic index marks for each district. However, he said the district would do its own local index.

In making his quarterly report to the school board, Schultz said the hard work of the district administrators and teachers is now being recognized.

While not teaching to the test, Schultz said better teaching skills are being utilized to help student learning.

“We’re showing some great strides,” said Schultz. “The test scores are indicative of the strides we’ve made in student teaching.”

The changes in SB 1 will not change the goals of the district, said Schultz.

“Our goal was to make fundamental changes in teaching,” said Schultz. “We didn’t put in a Band-Aid approach.”

The state will not require testing this spring in arts and humanities, practical living and writing portfolios but the district will continue with testing in those areas.

“The standards will not change that much,” Schultz said of new standards and testing procedures to be in place by 2011.

“Our eyes have been on good instructional standards,” said Schultz.

Another standard the district must meet is the federal No Child Left Behind act.

Schultz expects the district to meet the targets at all elementary schools and at least four of the six middle schools. If the federal goals had not increased for the program, he said all the elementary and middle schools would meet the standards.

One disappointment has been the lack of interest by parents in taking advantage of supplemental services.

Schools not meeting the NCLB act do receive supplemental services, such as tutoring. However, Schultz said despite several efforts, few take advantage of the free services provided to families in certain situations.

Another letter will be sent but Schultz said the money is provided to the district to help students do better in class.