Kentucky test scores reveal education challenges amid COVID-19

Posted at 9:32 AM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 19:40:58-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Statewide test results from last spring showed that less than half of the students scored at the proficient or distinguished levels in many Kentucky schools.

The test scores were aimed at better understanding how students performed academically amid learning disruptions caused by COVID-19. State education officials cautioned the latest test scores can’t be compared with pre-pandemic scores.

Locally, Campbell County Schools still ranked in the top 25 of the state for every subject category at the elementary level. Teachers at Cline Elementary said the results and other data points they're tracking can be used to better support students.

"From those different programs, it allows us to really pinpoint where our kids are struggling and fill in those gaps to make sure they are where they need to go for the next year," said Katie James, a fourth-grade reading teacher at Cline.

Lindsey O'Donnell, a fourth-grade math teacher at Cline, said hearing that Campbell County Schools ranked so high is an indication of how hard students in the district worked throughout the pandemic.

"So it feels good to see that it paid off, but a lot of credit is to the kids as well," she said. "Because they were the ones at home actually putting in the work, logging on to the meets, doing everything they needed to do to be independent learners."

Students faced challenges as schools switched to remote learning for months due to the pandemic.

“We knew these results would not be what we wanted to see, but the previous two school years saw extreme challenges,” state Education Commissioner Jason Glass said in a news release Wednesday. “We can use this information to address the gaps caused by COVID-19 disruptions and provide our students with the supports they need to be successful.”

Since the pandemic affected many aspects of education in the past school year, the state Education Department received a waiver from federal accountability. As a result, school accountability indicators and ratings weren’t part of the 2020-21 reporting.

One comparable piece of data: All Kentucky public school juniors participate in the ACT, which tests students in English, mathematics, reading and science. Scored on a scale of 1 to 36, the overall composite score was 18.0, down from 19.0 in the last year tested, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.