Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Commissioner at Committee

Commissioner Terry Holliday spoke at the fall Prichard Committee meeting yesterday. From my notes on his remarks, here are some points of interest, organized by topic.

November 13 is now the scheduled date for the Common Core project to release grade-by-grade draft standards. (A draft for end-of-high-school is already available here, and under validation review as described here).

February is now the likely date for Kentucky to adopt mathematics and language arts standards.

Sixteen states can adopt the Common Core by next June, but others have legal requirements that will take longer.

The early-adopting states are looking to begin work on common assessments early in 2010, and looking to the federal $350 million as a source of support for their work. Those efforts will:
  • include a major design role for teachers in participating states.
  • include both accountability assessment and formative assessment elements.
  • look to writing, problem-solving, and teamwork as part of what higher education consistently says students need for college success.
  • aim to use technology far more effectively than past tests.
Student performance data must be part of teacher evaluations, but we should never measure anybody by a one-day one-shot view.

The evaluation process should be designed and used as a growth instrument, not to be used for dismissals. Action plans are the right tool when dismissal is being considered.

That approach should apply both to teacher effectiveness and principal effectiveness, and Kentucky's approach will also include superintendents and school boards. (No, school councils were not mentioned.)

The Commissioner expects to propose legal changes to allow very strong action for the lowest five percent of schools. The words "charter school" are likely to be included, but not as a blanket endorsement. Instead, KDE is looking for "restrictive language" to tackle the situations that most need to turned around.

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