When we say we will only "count" NCLB areas of reading and math, are we saying that we will only look at the proficiency numbers for targeted populations or are we saying that we will look at all students' results in math and reading? Perhaps I have not taken the time to read carefully enough, but I haven't seen an explanation of what is actually meant by that portion of the decision.Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, school have annual objectives in reading and math only. The objectives are defined as the percent of students who reach the proficient level, with no credit for students who are at any lower level. Schools have to reach the objective for all students and for disaggregated groups--meaning white students, African-American students, Hispanic students, Asian students, students in the free-and-reduced lunch program, students with limited English proficiency, and students with disabilities.
Do notice that under those rules, the only thing that counts is getting a student past the proficiency mark. There's no credit for getting student close to proficiency but not quite there, and no credit for any further improvement once students reach proficiency. The incentive is to sort students into three groups--already proficient, nearly proficient, and far from proficient--and focus on only on the middle group that's already near the mark.
Kentucky's accountability model has been better than that, with partial credit for each step closer to proficience and extra credit for moving students to distinguished. That means the incentive is to help every child make progress every day--which is also the right thing to do.
For 2009, 2010, and 2011, Kentucky will use only NCLB accountability. Many teachers will ignore the incentives and continue helping all students, but do notice that the system is designed to discourage that.