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Kentucky Continues Allowing "Readers" for Learning Challenged Students

A Kentucky educational review subcommittee has killed a regulatory change that would have removed readers from helping certain students with disabilities and English language learners on reading comprehension tests.The new regulation would have brought the state in line with a majority of its peers, but the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee found the changes deficient, despite the Kentucky Board of Education’s approval earlier this year.“Because of that we just decided to withdraw the regulation for consideration for right now and then maybe bring it back at some point,” said Lisa Gross, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Education Department.The changes would have removed readers for special student populations so that the state could more accurately gage a student’s reading comprehension.Most states already do this, and critics in the state argue Kentucky’s National Assessment of Educational Progress reading comprehension test results should be negated.“There was some concern, not on our end (KDE), about the timing of the regulation, when it would be implemented,” said Gross.According to minutes from the August meeting, officials were concerned the state wouldn’t have enough time to implement the changes by next spring.Further, legislators wanted more data on the performance of the majority of states that have banned readers and from those that have granted certain waivers for some students, which is the case for some states and also part of Kentucky’s proposal.But other officials testified that Kentucky has the nation’s second-highest rate for excluding students from taking the NAEP test.Gross said she’s not sure if or when the regulation will be reconsidered.