Friday, August 6, 2010

Future accountability (an SB 1 deliverable)

Commissioner Holliday offers a blog-summary of the current draft ideas on how Kentucky will handle accountability starting in 2012:

It is now time to turn our attention to finalizing how schools and districts will be measured under the proposed strategic plan. We have been conducting advisory group meetings to gain feedback on revisions to the Kentucky accountability model and school/district report cards. The proposed accountability model would include the following measures:
* Next-Generation Learners – schools and district will receive an A,B,C,D or F grade on student learning results based on new common core assessments. The grade would be derived from a composite of proficiency rates, closing gaps and growth. Middle schools would have a high school readiness component added based on the 8th-grade PLAN assessment. High schools would have a college readiness component and a graduation component added.
* Next-Generation Professionals – schools and districts will receive a grade based on percentage of effective teachers and leaders. This measure will be developed by the teacher and principal effectiveness steering committees.
* Next-Generation Support Systems – schools and districts will receive a grade based on results from the teacher/leader working conditions survey to be administered for the first time in spring 2011. Also, program review performance will be included to ensure schools and districts are continuing to focus on a complete education in addition to tested subjects.
* Next-Generation Schools/Districts – within this strategic priority, districts will be graded on percentage of schools they have at each grading level. Also, school report cards will be revised to show performance on the above measures.
Let me reiterate that the new report cards and accountability system are only PROPOSED at this point. We are gaining feedback from all stakeholders; however, the time for action by the Kentucky Board of Education is drawing close. The KBE will receive a draft proposal at the October board meeting, and a final vote will be taken at the December board meeting. Should legislation be required for any component, we will work with legislators during the 2011 short session.
I'll add some quick thoughts:

  • Science and social studies remain a puzzle.  We hope and plan to use standards we can share with many other states, like the common core literacy and math approach we've already adopted, but those standards may not be ready in time for 2012 testing.  I'm confident this will work out in the long run, but not as confident we'll see a smooth transition in the next two years.
  • Arts & humanities, practical living/consumer studies, and the writing portfolio are in this accountability model.  They are not shown through as assessment results for students, because we no longer test those results, but the quality of what each school offers students will be evaluated through program reviews and the results will be in school and district accountability reports
  • This "accountability" model does not yet include a description of planned consequences for various levels of reported performance.
  • Visuals matter for public engagement.  For parents and citizens, this set of results ought to be available in a one page overview that is truly easy on the eye.  The key information should be in a comfortable font size with an appealing layout and a note on how to get deeper information on-line. 


  1. Although I understand the SB1 requirement for a new accountability system, I am puzzled by the seeming lack of any discussion about moving from or no longer using terms that we've worked 20 years to help people understand -- novice, apprentice, proficient, distinguished. Will they be part of the "next generation learners" measures? Is "proficient" dropping off the screen nationally? If so, we need to be preparing to help parents and citizens understand that.

  2. The "accountability" model deeply concerns me. The accountability index previously familiar, to parents, by utilizing Novice, Apprentice, Proficient, and Distinguished appears to be no more. Not only were parents familiar with the index statewide but also recognized what class work looked like in each category. These terms were also use on a national level in the results of NCLB. The familiarity of these levels should not be lost and the consequences for students not reaching proficiency should be clearly understood and enforced. Without consequences how do you hold schools, teachers, or students accountable?

    Bev is perfectly correct, doing away with these terms will cause a huge PR problem down the road. Maynard Thomas

  3. All of this is still under discussion and rightly confusing at this point in time. We just got a brief overview at the Commissioner's Parents Advisory Council. I urge everyone to participate in the Aug. 17th TEK statewide forum.

    It is my understanding that at the student level, there will still be a proficiency rating. The accountability that is changing is how we are reporting how well a school/district is doing. Before, we had the growth charts that mapped an index score that was calculated from a formula which included the scores from all subjects tested. A school/district was deemed progressing if they were traveling along the projected line in their growth chart. Now, schools and districts will not have a growth chart but will have a grade based on a their ability to meet a cut score based on a different forumla, such as achievement+gap+growth. Nothing is final yet but it will be a positive change that will keep schools and districts from flying under the radar for certain groups of students. It will also motivate schools and districts to look at a broader goal of college/career readiness.


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