Friday, September 4, 2009

A Best Practice in Kentucky Schools

This week, I’m focusing on an example of best practice in Kentucky schools.

Readers are reminded of Senate Bill 1, which requires school systems and colleges to better prepare students for career and postsecondary work and to reduce the remediation rates at the postsecondary level. All juniors in Kentucky take the ACT and receive college readiness predictions for mathematics, reading, science and social studies. All school districts are required to implement plans to address those students who do not score college-ready. The goal is to reduce the funds that are being spent by parents and colleges for remediation work when students enter college not ready for college-level credit work.

A great example of how school districts and colleges are working together to address the readiness issue comes from Madison County this week. Randy Peffer, chief academic officer for the Madison County school district, provided the following description of the work.

“The initial meeting was in early summer between members of the Madison County Achievement Team and representatives of Eastern Kentucky University to discuss the possibility of developing a course using the curriculum from the EKU developmental courses, namely Math 090, Math 095, and Math 098. The course was to be taught on the high school campus by the high school teacher using the syllabi, textbooks, and assessments from EKU. By working through consensus at both the school and university level, the course was developed.

“The course is designed to assist college-bound high school seniors who did not meet the benchmark on the mathematics portion of the ACT taken at the end of the junior year for state accountability These students would typically have to enroll and pay for “developmental/remedial” mathematics courses as college freshman for which they would receive no college credit. The transitional mathematics course was developed to help strengthen the basic mathematics skills needed to enable high school graduates to enroll and successfully complete credit bearing mathematics course(s) during their freshman year of college.

“Students were recruited for this course based upon their performance on the mathematics portion of the ACT and their intention of pursuing a college education. Once placed in the course, students will be assessed on the KYOTE (Kentucky Online Testing), which is used by almost all Kentucky universities and colleges as a placement assessment for all incoming freshmen for students who did not meet the ACT benchmark. Note – the KYOTE test is free to all students. Since the assessment results are immediate, teachers are able to determine the appropriate instructional levels of the students.

“The teachers at both Madison Central High School and Madison Southern High School will teach the students the content and skills taught in Math 090, Math 095, and Math 098 during the students’ senior year. The students will also take the KYOTE test at mid-year and at the end of the year to measure growth and progress. It is the intent that the student score well enough on the KYOTE test to be able to enroll in College Algebra during the fall semester of the freshman year.”

Thanks to Madison County and EKU for sharing. I am certain there are many more examples of great collaboration among schools and colleges. Let me know, so I can highlight your great work in future blog postings!

1 comment:

  1. I very much appreciate your comments. As a university professor and director of an English graduate program, I would like to suggest that reading and writing skills go hand in hand and reinforce each other. Consequently, I hope that, in addition to emphasizing acquisition of reading schools as students proceed from K-12 to post-secondary education, attention will also be given to writing skills. Even at the graduate level, the most common complaint is that graduate students outside the language arts areas cannot write.