Have a question? We are here to help you. Click here to contact us.

Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS)

The Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS) is designed to improve teaching and student learning in Kentucky. The CATS includes the Kentucky Core Content Test, a nationally norm-referenced test, the CTBS/5 Survey Edition, writing portfolios and prompts and the alternate portfolio for students with severe to profound disabilities.

Assessment Information
The Commonwealth Accountability and Testing System (CATS) is first administered in April of the third grade. Third grade students take a multiple-choice test called the Comprehensive Test of Basic Skills (CTBS/5), which is produced by the CTB McGraw-Hill Corporation. Because this test is used nationwide, Kentucky students can be compared to students in other states. This test is repeated in grades six and nine.

In grade four, students write parts of the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT for short) for the first time. This test is very different from the CTBS/5. In addition to the multiple-choice format, students answer open-response questions with essays. The open-response answers are limited to one page. A second difference is that the KCCT is designed to cover the breadth of the Core Content, which specifies the knowledge and skills that Kentucky students are expected to master at each grade level Test questions cover reading, writing and science. The reading and science tests, contain six open-response questions, as well as one that is being evaluated for future tests. This question is not factored into the student score. The writing test offers the student two questions, of which they only have to answer one. In addition, fourth graders produce a Writing Portfolio, a collection of expanded work representing their best efforts.

Fifth grade students continue the KCCT in different subjects than in the fourth grade. The format of the fifth grade mathematics and social studies test resembles the fourth grade reading and science test: it contains six open-response questions and one experimental question. Two new subjects are also tested for the first time in fifth grade: arts & humanities, and practical living/vocational studies. These tests are shorter, containing two open-response items and one experimental item, along with fewer multiple-choice questions than are contained in the mathematics or social studies sections. The following bullets summarize testing in middle and high school, which is parallel to the testing in elementary schools mentioned above:
  • Students in the sixth grade take a grade appropriate version of the CTBS/5.
  • Seventh graders write tests in the same subjects as fourth grade, with the same number of questions at a grade appropriate difficulty level.
  • Eighth grade repeats the same subjects as fifth grade.
  • Ninth grade students take a grade appropriate version of the CTBS/5.
  • Tenth grade takes the KCCT in reading and practical living/vocational studies. These tests have the same number of questions as these subjects had in earlier grades, but the questions have increased in difficulty at each level.
  • Eleventh grade is the most heavily tested grade in high school. Students write the KCCT in mathematics, science, social studies, and arts & humanities.
  • Since many students graduate at the end of the first semester of grade twelve, only two parts of the CATS are completed: in twelfth grade, the writing portfolio which can be finished the first semester, although it is not due until April, and the writing question, called writing on-demand, which is also administered in April.
One of the strong points of CATS is that it does not depend on a single type of testing. The KCCT includes multiple-choice in every subject and grade from three through eleven, open-response in grades four, five, seven, eight, ten, and eleven, writing questions and portfolios in four, seven and twelve. The variety of testing methods allows students to show a greater range of their abilities.

Merit’s language arts and math software programs correlate to Kentucky’s Core Content and can help students prepare for CATS. The content and format of Merit’s programs can help students develop and strengthen their test-taking skills as well as their reading, writing and math skills.

Merit reading software has been proven -- through rigorous, scientifically based research -- to increase both student reading comprehension and standardized test scores. Merit research study findings reveal that education software is an effective tool to improve test scores and academic performance.

Published: May 2005

Merit Software's programs address the specific areas covered on the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System (CATS).

Visit our Curriculum Correlations for Kentucky.

© 2015 Merit Software | Privacy Policy | Site Map

Follow Merit Software:

"Merit," "Merit Software," and "Punch" are the intellectual property of Merit Software.
GED® and GED Testing Service® are registered trademarks of the American Council on Education.