Friday, February 28, 2014

Senate Bill 1: Plan...Do…Study…Act

Since Senate Bill 1 (2009) was enacted, Kentucky has certainly been seen as a leader in the nation for our work in implementing college/career-ready standards, assessments, a new accountability system and professional development for educators. As these core processes begin to stabilize after three full years of implementation, it is important that Kentucky look at the results of our efforts and make the necessary adjustments to help even more students graduate from high school who are prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.

Throughout the next year, Kentucky will be focused on several key topics. We will review results of our accountability system with all stakeholder groups and make recommendations for any adjustments to the Kentucky Board of Education. We will fully implement the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System for teachers, principals, and superintendents. Finally, we will be looking for innovative ways to deliver instruction and assess student performance that are grounded in what students need to be competitive in the 21st century.

The results from our Senate Bill 1 accountability model (now called Unbridled Learning) will be known to districts beginning in late summer. We are already talking with stakeholder groups about replacement assessments for the Explore and Plan tests that the ACT folks are discontinuing. Also, we are looking at replacement tests for our high school end-of-course assessments due to our concerns about alignment with our Kentucky Core Academic Standards and the poor delivery of the online assessments by ACT. These decisions will be made in late summer.

Our timeline for revisions to the Unbridled Learning system will include discussions with all advisory groups, public input, and culminate with the second annual local superintendent summit in September. The recommendations from all of the groups will result in key recommendations being made to the Kentucky Board of Education in the fall of 2014 and subsequent changes to the accountability regulations being made in the December – April time frame. The key question for our stakeholders and the Kentucky Board of Education will be the implementation date of new assessments and revisions to the state accountability model.

Through this blog, I am asking stakeholders to begin to think about two key questions.

     1. ACT has announced the end of the tests that Kentucky gives to all
     8th graders (EXPLORE) and 10th graders (PLAN). Kentucky has a
     choice to continue giving the test in the fall of 2014, however, that
     will be the final administration. A key question to consider is do we
     replace EXPLORE and PLAN for this coming year or do we
     administer one more time in the fall of 2014 and then replace in

     2. The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has always been
     committed to reviewing the results of the Unbridled Learning
     accountability model after three years of data. The third year
     data will be released this fall. Should KDE implement stakeholder
     recommend changes for the 2014-15 accountability report cards
     or should KDE delay implementation of stakeholder
     recommendations until 2015-16?

There are many pros and cons for the choices prompted by these two questions. Through this blog and many upcoming meetings, KDE will be seeking input from stakeholders so we can bring forward well- informed recommendations to the Kentucky Board of Education this fall.

Thanks to all of our advisory groups for your careful thoughts and suggestions so that Kentucky education can continue to be seen as the leader in education reform in the nation and more importantly so we can continue to do what is right for our children.


  1. Dear Dr. Holliday,

    Common Core is a great idea, but the curriculum that they have is atrocious. I do homework with my 4th grade granddaughter. The method of teaching math is really bad. It makes it much harder than it has to be. I understand it, but she has a very hard time grasping it. The entire thrust is to teach why numbers work before they even learn how to make numbers work. This may be OK for extremely intelligent students, but it leaves average students lost. I graduated high school in 1965. We were made to learn how numbers work and memorize everything. Why numbers work didn't come until later in high school. It was my generation who was taught in this way that is responsible for the computer/information revolution. Bill Gates, Steve Wozniak, Steve Jobs, etc.
    You have a position where you can do something about this. Please do, for the sake of upcoming generations.

    Thank you,

    Craig MacMillan
    Watertown, CT

  2. PS My granddaughter's teacher agrees with me about the curriculum, but she has to teach what she is given. Please try to do something about this for the sake of millions of children. Thanks