A Comparison of Commonwealth Accountability Standardized Test Scores Between High School Agricultural Education/Career and Technical Education Students and the Kentucky State Standards
Throughout the history of education, assessment has been a crucial part of the teaching process. Various forms of assessment can "affect decisions about grades, advancement, placement, instructional needs, and curriculum" (Dietel, 1991). In Kentucky, the Board of Education designed the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System, or CATS, to assess its school programs. Each school has its own performance goal for every two-year period, ending in 2014. By 2014, the Board of Education hopes every school will receive a score of at least 100 out of 140. While scores can be evaluated by grade, they can also be evaluated by a number of other divisions, such as academic program. Scores in various areas can vary greatly depending on the student's curriculum choice. For example, students enrolled in an agriculture program may fare differently than those enrolled in communication classes in the areas of science, reading or mathematics. A study of these varying scores will not only improve student interest in certain educational programs, but also spotlight other programs that may need assistance in reformatting curriculum or teaching styles. Through a look at the CATS scores of Kentucky's high schools in 2003, the overall scores of agriculture students compared to those of non-agriculture students can determine the influence agricultural education has on the CATS test. By evaluating these scores by educational program, the CATS tests can be used to evaluate not just the curriculum of the subjects being tested over, but also the programs that contribute to learning these subjects. Through this evaluation, Kentucky's standardized tests can be used to their fullest potential by assessing curriculum and teaching styles, and in turn aiding in the advancement of education.