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October 10, 2003

KSD makes strong progress in CATS testing

From: Danville Advocate, KY - Oct 10, 2003


Kentucky School for the Deaf continues to make "steady progress" toward meeting goals of the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System.

That's the word from Fran Hardin, principal and director of instruction at KSD, who recently received a report from the state Department of Education on the school's performance on the 2003 CATS' tests and portfolio assessment.

"We have been making steady progress since 1999 when the state Department of Education established our first baseline index score and our goals, and this report bears that out," said Hardin.

In 1999, KSD's index score was 28.1, and in 2000, it was 33. Using the average of those two scores, the state established the baseline for KSD at 30.6.

The next three CATS results showed the progress to which Hardin was referring: in 2001, KSD's index score was 34.5; in 2002, it was 37.4; and in 2003, it was 43.6. That means that the index score for KSD has grown by more than 15 points, or more than 50 percent - from 28.1 to 43.6 - since 1999.

While the growth has been steady and significant, KSD still is short of its 2003-04 index goal set by the state. That goal is 49.1, meaning the school is slightly less than 6 points short of the target. However, the 43.6 2003 index score is well over the assistance point.

The school also has made progress in reducing the percentage of its students who are ranked as novices. In 1999, 89.5 percent of the KSD students involved in CATS were ranked as novices; in 2003, 66.8 percent were ranked as novice, representing a reduction of more than 22 percentage points. KSD now is well within range of meeting its novice reduction goal, which the state has set at 57.3 percent.

"I'm very pleased with the results of CATS and the novice reduction numbers and all other aspects of the accountability and assessment program," Hardin said. "They are tangible evidence of the very hard work of our staff and our students," Hardin said.

"We have adjusted our curriculum to enhance our students' performances on CATS as well as their performances in the classroom," she said. "We have geared the adjustments according to department guidelines that are aimed at improving performances."

Hardin said there has been particular improvement in reading and writing.

"Our overall goal is to meet the academic needs of our kids and this latest CATS report shows we are improving our efforts to meet those needs," she said. "Overall, we have a lot to celebrate here at KSD."

Copyright The Advocate-Messenger 2003