Marshall County School officials plan to rely on their own internal data instead of the Kentucky Department of Education’s annual School Report Card, officials said.

The Kentucky Department of Education has released the results of the 2020-21 school year’s state testing. In a press release from the Kentucky Department of Education, Education Commissioner Jason Glass stated the results of the test were not what they “wanted to see” but expected because of the pandemic.

“We knew these results would not be what we wanted to see, but the previous two school years saw extreme challenges,” Glass said. “We can use this information to address the gaps caused by COVID-19 disruptions and provide our students with the supports they need to be successful. This is one of a variety of tools our districts use on a regular basis to gauge where our students are.”

Dr. Steve Miracle, superintendent of the Marshall County Schools, along with Instructional Supervisor Abby Griffy, said that last year’s state testing was too different from previous years to provide meaningful, useful data.

“To be honest with you, I’m not sure the data can be what it is, but I’m not sure that the test scores on this particular assessment really tell us anything,” Miracle said.

Further complicating the matter, the 2019-20 school year saw the district receive a waiver to not take the typically federally mandated assessment. Without the previous year to make a proper comparison, they are left with the test taken before the pandemic’s arrival.

“There really isn’t any comparing that we can do to the previous data with this particular test because the last time the test was given was two years ago,” he added. “It was the actual test that we would always give, not this abbreviated version.”

The results of the test saw marked improvements in writing across the state, which has typically been a struggle for students, Griffy said. She attributed that to it being the first time the test was taken digitally.

Miracle added to that, stating the test was “modeled greatly” to the work they had been doing throughout the pandemic. Students had already spent a lot of time on their chrome books and working digitally, so having to work a writing assessment was something they had practiced for a year and a half beforehand.

Even with no pandemic, Miracle feels the test scores are little more than a “report” to render “judgement” on a district and gauge its effectiveness in teaching. He noted the fact that by the time the scores come back from the state, the district is already months into the following school year.

“Hopefully, the pandemic has illuminated the fact that the statewide assessment was never really the valid way to do this anyways,” Miracle said.” Hopefully, right out of the pandemic we will begin to put much more focus on what the internal data within the district is telling them.”

To that end, the district is really focusing on their own data, which Griffy said is done almost daily. Three benchmark tests are also planned to punctuate the school year, with the next one taking place in December.

“That’s some of the best data that we can use where you can collect immediately,” she said.