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State test scores released showing downward dip in learning as expected

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         The Kentucky Department of Education released the Kentucky Summative Assessment (KSA) results from last spring, which include Wayne County’s data. The impact of learning disruptions is evident in the results, both locally and statewide. The local district is aggressively working to make up for lost time and learning due to the pandemic.

          The results showed that there is considerable work to be done, considering the pandemic caused instruction to suffer after local students only attended 76 days in-person and studied 90 days at home through Non-Traditional-Instruction days. Some students did well learning remotely, however, many  experienced barriers and can focus better in person. 

          The limited results are not comparable to previous accountability scores. In fact, the pandemic has reshaped school accountability.

          Although accountability was waived, the federal government still required that state assessments be given and the results publicly reported.

           Wayne County had a high participation rate of students tested, even when many virtual students had to come to school temporarily to be tested. The rates showed that 97 percent of the elementary students were tested and 90 percent of the middle and high school students participated last spring. Many districts did not have nearly as high percentage rates as Wayne County. Wayne County was also above the curve in technology, as far as the number of Chromebooks available to students, even though broadband coverage was an issue in rural pockets of the county. WiFi hot spot connections were made available to make the internet more accessible to students.

             Instructors went the extra mile to deliver instruction by expanding their technology skills and implemented Google Classroom to teach long distance. They did their best to keep in touch with students and were available through phone calls and emails during the NTI days.

            The purpose of testing measurements taken in the spring will help guide schools through the COVID-19 academic recovery efforts. While schools may not be able to use 2021 test scores to compare student achievement, they can still use them as a “temperature check” to better track and address COVID-19 school recovery.

             The Kentucky Summative Assessment was previously called the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP). The tests were developed by Kentucky teachers and align with the Kentucky Academic Standards. Spring 2021 testing, for the first time, was based on all new standards. Due to COVID-19 during the past two school years, students faced learning disruptions, changes in the opportunities to learn, and a shortened assessment in 2021. Because of these challenges, you cannot make direct comparisons of assessment data from prior years.

           Educators are realizing the effects of the pandemic on student learning and have already been trying to make up for the time lapse by implementing resources ranging from new curriculum to school tutoring to summer schools/camps to professional development opportunities.  These strategies and future plans will help overcome the learning disruption. In addition, the district has already been using stimulus funding to combat the immediate effects of the pandemic, as well as make major improvements to the future of the campus.

           For more information, go to the Kentucky Department of Education page to see released annual School Report Card data, as required by statute and under the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). 

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