Starting next week, LaRue County High School students will take state-mandated end-of-course assessments that will count as part of the Unbridled Learning accountability as well as 15 percent of their final grade.
Students taking Algebra II will be tested April 24; biology, April 25; English, II; and U.S. History, April 29.
“The state recommends that the exam count 20 percent of the student’s grade for the course,” said Amanda Reed, assistant superintendent for student achievement. “Last year (the initial implementation of the assessment), we counted it 10 percent, this year 15 percent, and next year we anticipate moving to 20 percent.”
All final exams at LCHS will count 15 percent this year for all courses, according to Reed.
“The final exams for Algebra II, biology, U.S. History, and English II are the actual Quality Core exam,” she said. “Final exams for all other courses at LCHS are teacher created.”
Senate Bill 1, enacted in the 2009 Kentucky General Assembly, required a new public school assessment program beginning in the 2011-12 school year. The legislation allowed, with approval by the Kentucky Board of Education, an end-of-course (EOC) assessment program at the high school level.
ACT, Inc., was awarded the contract to provide EOC assessments for Kentucky. The assessment’s name is Quality Core because subjects covered include the four basic or core areas of instruction‚ English, math, science and social studies.
“The name of the EOC program is ACT QualityCore,” said Reed. “This program has been developed based on research in high-performing classrooms that focus on the essential standards for college and career readiness.”
The state-required assessment contains two multiple-choice sections to each test. Each section, for which 45 minutes are allowed, consists of 35-38 questions.
ACT’s QualityCore program also provides open response (essay-type) questions for school-level use, although these are scored at the school level and not by ACT.
“We embed these questions in our common assessments throughout the year,” said Reed. “They are scored on the common assessments and count in student grades, but they’re not part of the 15 percent final exam grade.”
EOC assessments replace former KCCT tests. Students in Grades 10 and 11 will also be required to take an on-demand writing test at the end of the school year. These on-demand writing tests – ACT (given to juniors), PLAN (administered to sophomores), and EOC assessments - comprise the state academic testing mandates for high school students.
Kentucky requires that all students who are enrolled in an EOC course take the assessment. For state accountability purposes, students are expected to take the four EOCs only one time throughout their high school careers.
Failing the EOC assessment doesn’t necessarily mean a student will fail for the year, but it is a possibility, according to Kentucky Department of Education testing information. Since the EOC score counts for only a portion of the student’s final grade, that student may do poorly on the assessment and still earn a passing grade for the course if he has done well on other course work throughout the year. The score may also help boost a low grade if the student performs extremely well on the EOC assessment.