FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky’s School Report Card has returned after standardized testing was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19.

What You Need To Know

  • The Kentucky School Report Card was released Wednesday

  • Standardized testing was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but returned in the spring of this year

  • Kentucky moved away from K-PREP this year and switched to Kentucky Summative Assessment (KSA) tests

  • Education officials warned not to compare this year’s data from prior years for multiple reasons

Students across Kentucky took KSA tests in the spring, which replaced the K-PREP tests students took each year.

Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) superintendent Marty Pollio said he’s not happy with the timing.

“Probably the most disappointed I’ve been in a governmental agency in requiring standardized testing for students at the end of last school year,” he said. “Especially after what kids, faculty, staff and everybody went through for the better part of 15 months prior to that testing.”

Kentucky Department of Education commissioner Jason Glass said people shouldn’t read too deeply into the numbers, though.

“These are different tests on different standards, and they were administered under unusual circumstances to fewer students,” Glass said.

Students also took the ACT this spring, which Glass said is a more consistent measure of change over the last few years, although the pandemic still affected this year’s report. The average composite score dropped from 19.0 in 2019 and 2020 to 18.0 in 2021.

“I think it also shows that we’ve got work to do to recover from this. We should be clear-eyed that this is not something that we’re likely going to be able to fix in a few months or even perhaps in a year,” Glass said. “We’re going to have to work our way out of this, but we also shouldn’t make an inference that this is a permanent drop. Again, this is an unusual set of circumstances and one year doesn’t make a trend.”

The School Report Card does show an achievement gap between students from wealthier families and those deemed to be economically disadvantaged.

Among high schoolers in JCPS who were deemed proficient or distinguished in a subject, the gap between economically disadvantaged students and those who aren’t was:

  • 28.4% gap in reading
  • 30.6% gap in writing
  • 24.1% gap in science
  • 30.4% gap in math

Pollio said it’s a long-standing issue in Jefferson County.

“The achievement gap clearly exists,” he said. “Whatever that data shows, it would be hard-pressed for me to say it has not been exacerbated as a result of the pandemic.”

And because of the pandemic, Pollio said parents shouldn’t judge schools for having lower scores than previous years.

“Not for my sake, not for anybody, but for our children being labeled something that I don’t think they should be and our teachers and staff and principals for working so hard in addressing the needs of kids,” he said. “I think we owe it to them.

Fayette County Public Schools superintendent Demetrus Liggins noted many students in his district didn’t even take the KSA test because it was optional. Fifteen percent of elementary students in the district, along with 25% of middle schoolers and 40% of high schoolers, declined to take the tests.

“The scores do not give us a lot of information beyond highlighting some of the concerns we’ve already known from previous data,” he said. “We are always hesitant to put a heavy emphasis on any one test on any one day, but even more so this year due to the circumstances surrounding the assessment.”

This year’s School Report Card does not include any school rankings or other accountability measures based on test results from 2021.

The full School Report Card can be found here.