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Instructions for online practice exams; anti-Common Core bill
As we reported this week, Kansas University's Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation recently unveiled online practice versions of the new state reading and math assessments that students will take this spring. But if anyone followed the hyperlink in the story we published, they may have had trouble finding the instructions that go along with it.
The pathway to the instructions document is kind of odd, so here's the direct link.
First, you need to download the KITE client application, which is how you get into the system. Choose the one that goes with your operating system.
Once you've installed that on your computer, you need to launch the client and follow the rest of the instructions, which include the user names and passwords needed to access each of the practice tests.
The new tests are being developed in alignment with the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards — a.k.a., "Common Core" — that the Kansas State Board of Education formally adopted in 2010.
Coincidentally, though, at about the same time that CETE's Marianne Perie was briefing the state board on the status of developing those tests, a new bill was introduced across the street in the Statehouse that would declare those standards null and void and prohibit schools from administering any tests associated with them.
House Bill 2621, would also do away with the Next Generation Science Standards the state board adopted last year.
Henceforth, according to the bill, the state could only give tests "identical to the statewide assessments that were utilized by the state board of education in school year 2012-2013."
The bill is even more expansive than the one introduced last year that failed to pass the House. During her presentation to the state board Wednesday, Perie was asked about political efforts at both the state and federal levels to block implementation of the Common Core standards.
That's when she noted that if the state can't ask test questions related to Common Core standards, it could no longer ask them to find the hypotenuse of a right triangle, plot algebraic expressions or convert decimals to fractions — all standard math skills that students have always been expected to learn, and which are included in the Common Core math standards.
Actually, though, Perie clarified in a subsequent email that the way the bill is written, the state would simply go back to using tests aligned to the old standards.