Friday, August 6, 2010

Planning for Proficiency

This week, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) reviewed progress toward the vision of “every child proficient and prepared for success.” The board presentation “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly” provided some background. To summarize from the presentation:
* There is good progress in 4th- and 8th-grade reading, with Kentucky outpacing the nation and also being the only state with significant gains between 2007 and 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores.
* Over the last decade, Kentucky also has made good progress in improving graduation rates; however, as we move toward the cohort graduation rate, we will see a decline in those rates.
* We are not making as much progress with 4th- and 8th-grade math on NAEP, with Kentucky scores being at or below national average.
* The real concerns continue to be with the persistent achievement gaps between groups of students at all levels for every indicator.

The KBE gave support for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) to begin implementation of the proposed strategic plan. The plan will have four strategic priorities – Next-Generation Learners; Next-Generation Professionals; Next-Generation Support Systems; and Next-Generation Schools and Districts. The KBE gave me direction to develop specific measureable goals for my evaluation and, in turn, the evaluation of the department.

It is now time to turn our attention to finalizing how schools and districts will be measured under the proposed strategic plan. We have been conducting advisory group meetings to gain feedback on revisions to the Kentucky accountability model and school/district report cards. The proposed accountability model would include the following measures:
* Next-Generation Learners – schools and district will receive an A,B,C,D or F grade on student learning results based on new common core assessments. The grade would be derived from a composite of proficiency rates, closing gaps and growth. Middle schools would have a high school readiness component added based on the 8th-grade PLAN assessment. High schools would have a college readiness component and a graduation component added.
* Next-Generation Professionals – schools and districts will receive a grade based on percentage of effective teachers and leaders. This measure will be developed by the teacher and principal effectiveness steering committees.
* Next-Generation Support Systems – schools and districts will receive a grade based on results from the teacher/leader working conditions survey to be administered for the first time in spring 2011. Also, program review performance will be included to ensure schools and districts are continuing to focus on a complete education in addition to tested subjects.
* Next-Generation Schools/Districts – within this strategic priority, districts will be graded on percentage of schools they have at each grading level. Also, school report cards will be revised to show performance on the above measures.

Let me reiterate that the new report cards and accountability system are only PROPOSED at this point. We are gaining feedback from all stakeholders; however, the time for action by the Kentucky Board of Education is drawing close. The KBE will receive a draft proposal at the October board meeting, and a final vote will be taken at the December board meeting. Should legislation be required for any component, we will work with legislators during the 2011 short session.

We do anticipate the reauthorization of the federal Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) next spring, and we anticipate the revisions to ESEA will contain many of the components we are proposing in the Kentucky model. Also, 2009’s Senate Bill 1 (KRS 158.6453) required the KBE to develop and implement a new accountability model by the 2011-12 school year – thus, the reason for the timeline.

Thanks for reading this blog, and remember that the driving force behind all of this work is “every child proficient and prepared for success.” A vision without work is just a dream. We are working to make the dream a reality!

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