Statewide End-of-Course Exams Begin Next Year

End-of-course assessments were authorized in education reforms approved by Kentucky lawmakers in 2009.

The statewide tests measure student achievement in graduation-required courses of English, Algebra, Biology and U.S. History.

Rhonda Sims of the Education Department says districts are also being encouraged to base up to 20 percent of a student’s final course grade on assessment test results.

“It does allow the course work and the assessment to blend together, so the students have some ownership into this.”

State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says districts are being encouraged to base up to 20 percent of a student’s final course grade on assessment test results.

“We wanted a requirement, but our legal staff felt like we didn’t have the authority. There’s some site-based council issues here. So, we strongly worded 20 percent because teachers all over the commonwealth told me kids need to have some accountability for this.”

Holliday says the tests can also be taken online.

“Florida just did it with Algebra I – the entire state, online. Oregon’s been doing this for years. So, our strategy is to help districts with the capacity to do the online model and to give them lots of suggestions on how to get that done.”

The tests include both multiple choice and written response questions, and students should know the results within ten days. Sims says the tests align well with college readiness criteria and student performance can be compared to similar test results in other states.

By Tony McVeigh

Veteran broadcast journalist Tony McVeigh has been covering Kentucky politics since 1986, reporting for Clear Channel Communications before joining Kentucky Public Radio in 2004. His stories are aired by seven KPR affiliates, whose signals blanket the Commonwealth and parts of surrounding states. McVeigh began his broadcasting career at WRFC in Athens, Georgia, while earning a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from the University of Georgia. He has extensive anchor/reporter experience, including stints with South Carolina Network and Georgia Radio News Service in Atlanta. In 2007 and 2008, McVeigh was named Best Radio Reporter in the Kentucky Associated Press Awards. He also picked up consecutive AP Awards for Best Political Coverage. McVeigh won four Kentucky AP Awards in 2009, six in 2010 - including Best Political Coverage and Best Hard News Feature - and three in 2011. His coverage of the 2007 Kentucky governor's race topped the Political Reporting category of the Society of Professional Journalists Green Eyeshade Awards of 2008. In 2009, McVeigh placed second in Courts and Law Reporting in the Atlanta-based competition for journalists in 11 Southern states. McVeigh is also the proud recipient of an Individual Liberty Award from the Kentucky Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. The Brunswick, Georgia, native is a die-hard UGA football fan who enjoys photography, astronomy, live music, hiking Kentucky's Red River Gorge and exploring the state's beautiful back roads. McVeigh and his big, fat, black cat Simon, reside in Frankfort, KY.