A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky Board of Education discusses changes in new public school accountability system

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The Kentucky Board of Education has taken a deeper dive into the various components of a new accountability system.

The system, still in its draft form, has been under development by teams of educators and others from across the state for the past 10 months. It is designed to meet the requirements of the federal Every Student Succeeds Act and to propel Kentucky students to higher levels of achievement and preparedness.

Stephen L. Pruitt

The proposed system has students at its center. It includes:

— personalized options for students to be transition ready with content knowledge and critical essential skills;
— a focus on instruction with student proficiency and growth;
— opportunities and access measures that go beyond tested subjects to allow for a well-rounded education and a broader picture of school performance;
— data requirements that shine a light on closing the achievement gap; and
— an innovation pilot for a competency-based model.

The proposed system recommends both measures for rating a school and for reporting greater information. An overall rating will be determined by student and school performance on five indicators – Proficiency, Growth (elementary and middle school only), Achievement Gap Closure, Transition Readiness and Opportunity and Access.

Schools and districts would receive an overall rating using one of six labels – Outstanding, Excellent, Good, Fair, Concern or Intervention.

The proposed system includes an interactive, online dashboard that would simply and visually display school, district and state performance on system components.

One major point of discussion during the work session was the opportunity and access indicator, which is unique to Kentucky’s proposal. It is designed, through a variety of measures, to ensure all Kentucky students have opportunity to rigorous and challenging coursework, and access to high-quality, standards-based instruction in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies as well as music, arts, physical education, health, practical living and career studies.

“I really like the goal here,” board member Gary Houchens said. “I think the trick is how we define these things so that we actually incentivize schools to pay attention to them in a meaningful and objective kind of way.”

“If we are ever going to close the achievement gap, under-served populations have got to have access to higher learning,” Board chair Bill Twyman said. “It’s just common sense.”

Currently, Commissioner Stephen Pruitt is conducting Town Hall meetings across the state to gather public input on the draft proposal of the new accountability system. More information and the schedule of remaining Town Hall meetings is available here.

The current timeline calls for the board to consider regulations on implementation of a new accountability system at its June meeting. Kentucky will submit its plan to the U.S. Department of Education in September, with transition to the new system beginning in the 2017-18 school year and full implementation in the 2018-19 school year.

From Kentucky Education Department Communications

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