Thursday, September 23, 2010

New transition index results show school improvement occurring too slowly

Here's today's press release on transition index results for 2010:
Kentucky schools are improving too slowly, according to an analysis of state test scores released today by three statewide groups.
The analysis, presented in a Transition Index Report, was developed by the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, the Kentucky Association of School Councils and Council for Better Education to monitor school performance during the three years that Kentucky is moving from the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System to a system based on new state standards and testing. The new system was mandated in legislation (Senate Bill 1) enacted by the 2009 General Assembly.
The Transition Index is based on a formula similar to the one used in past years by the Kentucky Department of Education to gauge school progress. The partner groups applied the formula to state test scores for 2010, which were released on September 23, along with those for 2007, 2008 and 2009. From the analysis, the groups conclude that:
• The strongest improvements over the last year came in elementary reading, mathematics and writing; middle school reading and writing; and high school writing.
• Disturbing declines were seen in elementary social studies, middle school science and high school reading.
Looking at combined results for all subjects, the analysis found:
• On a statewide basis, elementary schools are on track to get very close to the proficiency mark by 2014, but middle schools are moving too slowly and high schools much too slowly to deliver for all students on time.
• 60 percent of elementary schools have reached proficiency or are improving at a rate that would take them to that mark by 2014.
• 39 percent of middle schools have reached proficiency or would reach it by 2014 at the current pace of growth.
• Only 6 percent of high schools would reach proficiency by 2014 by continuing their current rate of improvement.
"An index provides the big picture on whether schools' strategies are working with kids," said Ronda Harmon, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Councils. "We see this transition project as a way to help schools measure their progress until the new 2012 assessment begins." Harmon added that her organization views the Transition Index project as a voluntary way for educators, parents and others to "see the big picture" in results from the Kentucky Core Content Tests.
"Remember that, for the future, our state has made a commitment to higher standards," said Daviess County Superintendent Tom Shelton, president of the Council for Better Education. "If current improvement is too slow to reach existing standards, there is great concern about how we will do when the new college-ready standards come into play."
Cindy Heine, interim executive director of the Prichard Committee, said the point of the report is to let "everyone see the issues and work on moving achievement to higher levels." Heine echoed Shelton’s thought on Senate Bill 1, adding, "For all students to be ready for college and workplace success, school improvement cannot wait for 2012. We all need to be working on quicker progress in 2010 as well as in future years."
Results for each school and district, as well as the state as a whole, are available at An additional report on achievement gap trends will be released by the same groups in early October.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!