Tuesday, March 17, 2009

SB 1 transition accountability (before 2012)

Senate Bill 1 calls for transition testing until the new assessment can begin in 2011-12, which invites questions about how schools will be accountable during the transition.

There will be no overall CATS accountability. The Accountability Index (summing up results for all students in all subjects) will not be calculated for 2009, 2010, or 2011, so there will be no way to apply consequences like those used under CATS. For readers still searching for portfolio information, not using the Index eliminates portfolio accountability, plus SB 1 says explicitly that it cannot count.

NCLB accountability will apply in reading and math, using the percent of students who score proficient. Graduation rates will still be the NCLB "other academic indicator" for high schools. For elementary and middle schools, the 2008 Accountability Index will be the other indicator for 2009, and then Kentucky will need federal approval to use other data for that role.

SB 168 accountability for achievement gaps in core content subjects may require some adjusting. Targets based on 2008 data may have to be tweaked to remove arts, practical, and writing portfolio results. Targets based on 2010 may have to be set carefully, because only 2011 scores will be similar enough compare. Those targets are set locally, not by the state, and until 2012, they will still be set for two years at a time.

A one-page PDF, with further details, is here.


  1. After ruminating about the details and consequences( both intended and unintended) of the assessment bill that came out of the Legislature this past week, I have decided that it reminds me a great deal of the story of "The Emperor's New Clothes". In that timeless story, subjects of the Emperor gave him unanimous praise and adulation for the quality and beauty of his new garments-- congratulating him and themselves for their creation and display. No one had the courage to tell it like it was-- that he had stripped himself bare and that he was walking around naked. So it is with this new legislation that has been foisted upon the students and citizens of Kentucky. Because the political winds of change had gained strength , even the most ardent supporters of the value of sustained, authentic accountability as a positive motivator for improvement in Kentucky schools bowed to the reality of politics. This cobbled together legislation has gutted the heart and soul of reform for education in Kentucky. The reality of our new "clothes" is that we have been stripped naked and students will suffer. This legislation isn't beautiful, it isn't pretty, it just leaves a void. Gone is any genuine accountability. Gone is assessment that measures progress across all subject areas. Gone is the requirement to pay attention to student writing.
    The one bright spot I hope for is that in the 19 years of KERA accountability, most schools have worked tirelessly to establish a culture of improvement in student achievement that will prevail. I trust teachers and I hope and pray that they will not narrow the focus of their instruction to only the subjects assessed for NCLB. However, this will be a difficult task and they will have much pressure to focus only on those areas where there is still some form of public reporting.
    Kentucky no longer wears the rich robe of reform that was established in 1990. It has been replaced with a transparent "garment" that reverts back to the laissez-faire days before KERA and is sure "ain't" pretty.

  2. Wow. You've convinced me that it's time for me to start adding some opinion posts. The bill looks to me like some important improvements starting 2012, and I'm very happy with those two unanimous votes. The transition is bad news, and there's always the risk of underfunding, but I truly think we're looking at one step back and then at least two forward.


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