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KCA test scores improving

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By Calen McKinney

 

Test scores at Kentucky Christian Academy are up and above the national average.

And KCA officials say they are pleased with those results.

For the past two years, KCA officials have administered a nationally recognized standardized test called Terra Nova 3.

Administrator Lori Eubank said Terra Nova 3 is the largest testing service in America and is used by many public and private schools. This means KCA test results can be compared to students nationwide and not just to scores from students in Kentucky.

"So we have a much larger pool," she said.

Before the Terra Nova 3, KCA students took the Stanford Achievement Test.

When selecting a new test, Eubank stated in a news release, KCA's accrediting body, the Association of Christians Schools International, researched all the major testing services available in America.

The release states that, according to ACSI, Terra Nova 3 "meets the highest technical standards of the testing industry and incorporates the most current innovations in measurement methodology. The result is a valid, reliable assessment that meets rigorous psychometric standards."

Terra Nova 3 content is aligned with the framework established by the National Assessment of Educational Progress, the release states, in reading, math, science and social studies as well as content and skills commonly addressed in state standards.

This year's scores, Eubank said, which are generated from tests taken during the 2012-2013 school year, are given as percentages of students scoring proficient or better and what percentile that equates to.

In reading, 81 percent of KCA students scored proficient or better. In science, 68 percent achieved the proficient or better mark. Figures for math, social studies and science, respectively, are 74, 71 and 74.

Those figures put KCA in these national percentiles - 77 for reading and math, 73 for language and 76 for a composite score.

"I think our test scores are very impressive when you think of the pool," Eubank said.

Last year's scores, Eubank said, were above the national average but not as high as the students' potential.

As a result, she said, KCA staff members began using Singapore Math to teach students. And this year's results show an increase in math scores.

Eubank said staff members are evaluating the language program to see if it needs any adjustments.

She said this year is the first that a comprehensive report has been generated from the results of the Terra Nova 3. As a result, she said, next year, officials can use this year's report to more accurately compare the results.

Eubank said KCA's scores can't be compared to recent state testing scores released for the local public school systems. The release states that the question is often asked how KCA students measure up to students at Campbellsville and Taylor County public schools.

"This question is almost impossible to answer because we do not give the state mandated test, K-PREP," Eubank stated in the release. "This test only compares schools and student achievement across the state of Kentucky. Our test is a nationally recognized test and compares schools and students across the nation.  Therefore, we are comparing our children to those in the same grade, across the nation and not just in the state of Kentucky."

"It is often mistakenly believed that KCA students are 'smart kids' who excel academically very easily, but the truth is, that our students are of average cognitive ability but scoring above average on a national scale," she stated.

The release states that KCA students in kindergarten through fifth grade take Terra Nova 3 and are tested in reading, math and language. Students in grades one through five take an expanded Terra Nova 3 test in science and social studies.

Performance on Terra Nova 3 is categorized as starting out, progressing, nearing proficiency, proficient and advanced.

In addition to Terra Nova 3, the release states, KCA administers a Primary Test of Cognitive Skills in shorthand to first-grade students and InView, similar to an I.Q. test, to fourth-graders.

KCA will celebrate groundbreaking for its new school building on Monday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m. The new school will be built on Old Columbia Road.

For more information about the new school, see the Aug. 1 issue.