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New Kansas Student Tests Could Be Modified In The Future

Alberto G., flickr Creative Commons

Scores from a new state assessment of Kansas students were released last week. Even though the tests are brand new, there could be changes in the coming years. The goal of the new, more rigorous exams is to better judge what students know and if they’re on track to succeed in college or a career.

Former teacher David Dorsey now works for the Kansas Policy Institute, a think tank. He says the ranking system for students, with categories one through four, may not be easy for parents to understand. He suspects there may be some changes needed in the future.

“If there are enough parents who are confused, if there are enough teachers and administrators who are saying, ‘We can’t tell our parents, kids what this stuff means,’ we may see a little bit of a change in there,” Dorsey says.

Education officials say parents will be provided with descriptions of what students are expected to know at each level. The categories also indicate if students are on track for college or just performing at grade level.

Officials with the Kansas Department of Education say they’ll be watching to see if the tests are accurately predicting future student performance. The tests can be tweaked to get more accurate results, if needed.

Stephen Koranda is the managing editor of the Kansas News Service, based at KCUR. He has nearly 20 years of experience in public media as a reporter and editor.