Kentucky Assessment Letter

May 4, 2006

The Honorable Gene Wilhoit
Kentucky Department of Education
500 Metro Street
Frankfort, Kentucky 40601

Dear Commissioner Wilhoit:

Thank you for submitting Kentucky’s assessment materials for review under the standards and assessment requirements of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), as amended by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB). We appreciate the efforts required to prepare for the peer review and hope that the process provides useful feedback that will support Kentucky’s efforts to monitor student progress toward challenging standards.

External peer reviewers and U.S. Department of Education (ED) staff evaluated Kentucky’s submission and found, based on the evidence received, that it did not meet all the statutory and regulatory requirements of Section 1111(b)(3) of the ESEA. I know that my staff has discussed the results of this review with your staff. However, I want to take this opportunity to enumerate the evidence that Kentucky must provide in order to have a fully compliant standards and assessment system under NCLB. That evidence is listed on the last pages of this letter.

I urge you to submit any additional available evidence demonstrating how Kentucky’s system meets the standards and assessment requirements as soon as possible. I also request that, as soon as possible, you provide us a plan with a detailed timeline for how Kentucky will meet any remaining requirements for which evidence is not currently available. After reviewing those materials, I will then determine the appropriate approval status for Kentucky’s standards and assessment system.

Enclosed with this letter are detailed comments from the peer review team that evaluated Kentucky’s assessment materials. The peer reviewers, experts in the areas of standards and assessment, review and discuss a State’s submission of evidence and prepare a consensus report. I hope you will find the reviewers’ comments and suggestions helpful, and remind you of our offer to provide you further technical assistance at your request.

We look forward to working with Kentucky to support a high-quality assessment system. If you would like to discuss this further or would like to request technical assistance, please do not hesitate to call David Harmon (202-205-3554) or Abigail Potts (202-206-2465) of my staff.


Henry L. Johnson


cc: MaryAnn Miller

Summary of Additional Evidence that Kentucky Must Submit to Meet ESEA Requirements for the Kentucky Assessment System


  1. Documentation that the State involved education stakeholders in the development of reading academic content standards.


  1. Approved academic achievement standards for the augmented norm-referenced tests (ANRT) for reading in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8, and for the augmented NRT for mathematics in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7.
  2. Approved alternate academic achievement standards for the Kentucky Alternate Portfolio in reading and mathematics at grades 3-8 and high school.


  1. Evidence that supports the coherence of the assessment system or at least the equivalent meaning of results of the KCCT and its new augmented Norm-Referenced tests across grades.
  2. A detailed plan and timeline for establishing the alternate assessment system for students in grades 3, 5, 6, and 7; how the system will be modified to provide information separately for reading and math; and delineating the process that Kentucky will use to develop the achievement standards.
  3. Evidence that the regular assessments match higher level thinking skills in form and balance as defined in the Kentucky Core Content for Assessment.
  4. Documentation of ANRT implementation for reading in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8, and for the ANRT for mathematics in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7.


  1. Technical quality (validity, reliability, standard setting) of the ANRT for reading in grades 3, 5, 6, and 8, and for the ANRT for mathematics in grades 3, 4, 6, and 7.
  2. Technical quality (validity, reliability, standard setting) of the Kentucky Portfolio Assessment to measure reading and mathematics separately across all tested grade levels.
  3. Documentation that the State monitors assessment system with special attention to auditing accommodations for students with IEPs and limited English proficient students during testing.


  1. Documentation that the reading and mathematics Kentucky Core Content Tests are aligned to the Core Content for Assessment.
  2. Documentation that the new reading and mathematics ANRTs are aligned to the Core Content for Assessment.
  3. Documentation of Kentucky Alternate Portfolio alignment with the Core Content for Assessment.


  1. Detailed plans and documentation to ensure that the levels of inclusion found in the KCCT grades will be maintained in the grades that will be using the ANRT and the new alternate assessment.


  1. Reports for ANRTs in reading grades 3, 5, 6, and 8, and for the ANRTs in mathematics grades 3, 4, 6, and 7.
  2. Mockups for the alternate assessment reports showing separate scores for reading and math.

Return to state-by-state listing