Friday, October 3, 2014

Program Reviews as the Newest Accountabilty Element

Program reviews are a new indicator of the quality of student learning opportunities in subjects that Kentucky no longer tests.  For accountability, there are three reviews, focused respectively on writing, arts & humanities, and practical living & career studies.  And, as you can see,when the school scores submitted by all districts are combined into statewide numbers, they average out very high.

It's worth unpacking those results from the statewide briefing packet on the new results a little more.  Individual program review rubrics use a 0 to 12 scale, with 8 being the score for a proficient program.  To get numbers like the ones shown above, the scores on all three reviews are added together and divided by 24 (equivalent to three proficient scores).  Scores above the 100 level are rounded down to the 100 maximum allowed by the state scoring system.

So, the graph above shows that statewide, districts on average are rating their schools proficient or higher on their program reviews.  Individual schools had higher and lower scores, but the averages came out at or above 100 on all three levels.

Below, you can see the results for each subject for the two available years, all using the 0 to 12 scale that applies for individual reviews.  There, too, it's clear that the averages are now at or slightly above the proficient level for all three programs at all three levels.

In 2008, the discussion about program reviews included clarity that the Kentucky Department of Education would need to play a major role in ensuring consistent scoring, along with consistent refusal to estimate the costs.  In 2009, Senate Bill 1 specified "Each local district shall do an annual program review and the Department of Education shall conduct a program review of every school's program within a two (2) year period," again without frank engagement about the price tag.    Since that point, the Department has had no resources to carry out that scale of review, and many discussions have fallen into saying that schools score themselves, even though state law makes the reviews a district obligation. 

Whoever has been leading the process and whoever has been monitoring, I think these results will move us quickly to a serious discussion about what it will really take to ensure that program reviews reflect consistent scoring against high expectations.  That discussion is at least six years overdue.

--Posted by Susan Perkins Weston

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