Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Draft Accountability Regulation: Standards and Indicators

| Post By Susan Perkins Weston |

The Kentucky Board of Education recently held its first reading of a new accountability system regulation, and this post summarizes how that draft addresses two of the questions I’ve been using to summarize accountability issues. I’ll address the goal and rating questions in my next post, and I’ll cover plans for identifying and supporting schools with performance weaknesses in a post after that.

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).

1. What should our rising generation know and be able to do?
Kentucky’s academic standards are established in another regulation, and SB 1 calls for each subject to be reviewed on a six-year cycle for “possible revision or replacement to ensure alignment with postsecondary readiness standards necessary for global competitiveness and with state career and technical education standards,” using a process of public input, subject-area committees, legislative committee attention, and KBE final decisions. Accordingly, the draft accountability regulation does not need to address standards.

2. What indicators can we use to track our progress toward those desired results?
For elementary and middle schools, the draft regulation calls for indicators that include:
  • Proficiency on state assessments, with partial credit for apprentice results extra credit for distinguished work, and extra credit for proficient or distinguished work on assessments for higher grade levels
  • Achievement gap closure on state assessments, looking at income, race, disability status, English learner status, and a “consolidated group” based on race, disability status, and English learner status
  • Growth, using state reading and math assessments to check whether individual students move to higher performance levels from one year to the next and also checking English learners’ progress toward English proficiency
  • Opportunity and access, including chronic absenteeism, gifted and talented services, rich curriculum (arts, health and physical education, science, and social studies), and access to counselors, nurses, and librarians. For middle schools, career exploration will also be part of the curriculum data.
For high schools, the draft calls for indicators that include:
  • Proficiency
  • Achievement gap closure
  • Growth, checking English learners’ progress toward English proficiency
  • Opportunity and access, including chronic absenteeism, graduation rate, advanced coursework, rich curriculum (global competency/world language, career and technical), and access to nurses, librarians, and career counselors
  • Transition readiness, shown by earning a diploma, demonstrating essential skills, and showing either academic readiness (college entrance exam, AP, IB, dual credit) or technical readiness (industry certification, KOSSA, dual credit) or military readiness (ASVAB)
One more element:
  • A local measure will be chosen by districts and charter schools and included in district and charter ratings. (The Kentucky Department of Education’s June 12, 2017 PowerPoint includes a small modification, calling for the local measure to included as a part of the Opportunity and Access indicator rather than being a separate indicator in the overall design.

For ESSA approval, four-year graduation rates must be used as a measure, with five-year rates and other extended periods allowed as optional additions. Kentucky’s ESSA plan will need to include the four-year approach.

For ESSA approval, indicators must be reported and used “for all students and separately for each subgroup of students.” The one exception is the English proficiency measure, which can be used without disaggregation. In recent discussions, Department leaders have noted that it may not be possible to break out access to nurses, librarians, and counselors that way. Data that cannot be disaggregated by student groups will not be used in accountability ratings, but could still be included in other reporting.

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