Friday, March 20, 2009

Viewpoint: The Ten Best Things about Senate Bill 1

Here's my list, with the first and most important listed last.

10. Writing portfolios will be used from primary to grade 12, with new state guidelines for writing programs and new school council policies within those guidelines and a new EPSB focus on preparing good writing teachers and a new KDE review of writing professional development and a new program assessment of how writing is taught and learned. (Okay, I’d still prefer for portfolio scores to be part of state accountability, but I have to agree that SB 1 brings a pretty impressive second-best approach.)

9. Our universities and community colleges must now set public standards for their entry-level courses, with P-12 participants in their standards-development work. No more saying P-12 doesn't deliver without clarifying what would count as acceptable readiness.

8. Teacher preparation programs must equip future teachers to deliver on the new standards, evaluate students’ classroom progress, and adjust instruction to meet individual needs. (The Department of Education will be responsible for ensuring professional development to help current educators hone similar skills.)

7. Postsecondary faculty, staff, and leadership will join in the work to develop our new P-12 standards to ensure that we address the right knowledge and skills to prepare all students for higher education.

6. Program assessments in the arts will promote greater emphasis on students creating and performing.

5. Constructed-response items and on-demand prompts will require students to show their ability to solve problems and explain their efforts, while multiple-choice provides an efficient method to check the range of their knowledge.

4. Criterion-referenced scoring will tell us whether students are mastering what they should know and be able to do (while norm-referenced information will provide national comparisons and honor the concerns of parents who find percentile data helpful).

3. Science, social studies, and writing will be core assessment topics. Our children need those subjects, and and they will continue to be part valued, accountable parts of Kentucky expectations. Starting in 2011-12, they will again be part of statewide accountability.

2. Our new standards and assessments will be developed on a quick but responsible timetable. We all know the old chestnut about building the plane while flying it, and certainly did that with our last two testing systems. This time, we’ll do the design and construction in a hangar, and start flying the plane when we know it’s sturdy.

1. Revised, shorter, sharper P-12 standards by 2011, with the potential to help teachers do deeper, stronger work to move each and every child to success.


  1. I cheerfully remind would-be commenters of the policy immediately above.

  2. Except, of course, that once I post a comment, the comments policy appears below!


Updates and data on Kentucky education!