Thursday, June 15, 2017

Draft Accountability Regulation: Goals And Ratings

| Post By Susan Perkins Weston |

The Kentucky Board of Education recently held its first reading of a new accountability system regulation. My earlier post looked at how the draft deals with standards and indicators, matching the first two questions I’ve been using to track accountability ideas. This post takes on questions 3 and 4, and my next post will deal with questions 5-7 (identifying schools for support, providing support, and sharing additional data)

For more background, take a look at this quick summary of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and Kentucky’s Senate Bill 1 (SB 1) or at the full regulation draft included in the June 7 KBE agenda (scroll down to item XXI).

3. How far and how fast do we intend to raise our indicators?
For students overall, the draft regulation does not identify any goals or methods for setting goals.

For student groups with lower recent results, the draft regulation mentions goals that will be used to rate achievement gap closure, but does not specify how they will be set.
For ESSA approval, states must set “ambitious state-designed long-term goals” for “all students and separately for each subgroup of students.” For groups that are behind, the goals must call for improvement quick enough to “make significant progress in closing statewide proficiency and graduation rate gaps.” For both kinds of goals, states must also set interim measures of progress on the way to meeting those goals.

The Department’s June 12, 2017 PowerPoint does propose an approach to long-term goals, aiming “to increase student proficiency rates significantly for all students in the state by 2030” and “to decrease the achievement gap of lower-performing student groups by 50% by 2030.”

4. How will we rate (or differentiate) schools each year?
Low, moderate, strong, very strong ratings will be given on each indicator, but the draft does not say how ratings will be determined.

One to five stars will be given to each school based on the indicators, but the draft does not say what formula or rules will be used to award the stars.

In addition to the stars, a gap closure designation will be given for “closing the differences in achievement between students demographic groups” and a gap issue designation will be given for “very large achievement gaps and low-performing students.” The draft does not give specifics on how either designation will be earned.

The draft does not provide for changing schools’ ratings if any student group is “consistently underperforming.”
For ESSA approval, each state’s system for “meaningfully differentiating” its public schools must “include differentiation of any such school in which any subgroup of students is consistently underperforming.” The schools with an underperforming student group must also be offered targeted support.

SB 1 requires targeted support for schools with a student group with results “at or below that of all students, based on school performance, in any of the lowest-performing ten percent of all schools for two consecutive years.”

That SB 1 rule looks like a workable way for Kentucky to fill in ESSA’s call for a definition of “consistently underperforming.” To meet ESSA requirements for differentiating/rating schools, however, that “like-lowest-10%” rule will also have to matter in the school rating system.

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