Tuesday, May 26, 2015

New Prichard Report: Progress in Kentucky Education: Higher Standards, Assessments and Teaching

And more important news from Tuesday's release:

LEXINGTON, KY –Kentucky’s academic standards are the focus of a new Prichard Committee report, which shares additional information about the state’s assessment and teacher evaluation systems.

Progress in Kentucky Education: Higher Standards, Assessments and Teaching” describes the interconnected elements of the state’s education system:
  • academic standards that establish what students should know and be able to do as they move from grade to grade toward graduation
  • an assessment system that measures how well students and schools are meeting those standards
  • a professional growth and effectiveness system to ensure that educators are able to improve their skills every year and equip students for steadily higher levels of performance
The report points out that higher academic standards are critical because Kentucky’s students face a future where jobs will require that they can adapt and learn new skills on a continuing basis; in other words, they must learn how to learn. Kentucky’s state standards help them do that, the report notes.

Making sure schools and students are on the right track is essential, and Kentucky’s statewide assessments provide evidence about the learning that is taking place in schools. The report notes that assessments are particularly important for spotting and addressing achievement gaps between groups of students – a continuing, significant challenge for Kentucky.

The report also emphasizes the relationship between effective teachers and student success, pointing up the need to give educators ongoing feedback and opportunities to develop stronger professional skills. Kentucky’s new Professional Growth and Effectiveness System looks closely at both the quality of what teachers do and the learning that takes place in the classroom.

The system identifies areas where each teacher is already effective and where improvement is needed, and it promises consistent support for making those improvements, the Prichard Committee report points out. It also sets clear criteria and quick timelines for ineffective educators to improve their practice or move out of the profession. A matching system is in place for principals, and similar approaches are being developed for counselors, librarians, instructional supervisors, and other professional education positions.

“It’s clear we are on the right track in Kentucky. Our students are performing at higher levels and teachers are meeting the standards by providing deeper learning opportunities in the classroom. Staying the course and working together will ensure continuous improvement for our students and for our state,” said Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence.

Progress in Kentucky Education” was released today along with a special Prichard Perspectives report on  implementing the standards in Kentucky classrooms: “Finding Solutions: Standards Push Students Toward Real-Life Problems.” Together, the reports provide an overview of progress in Kentucky education and how that is reflected in both policy developments and classroom practices.

Both reports are available at prichardcommittee.org.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!