Editor’s note: Senate Bill 1 (SB 1), enacted in the 2009 Kentucky General Assembly, requires a new public school assessment program beginning in the 2011-2012 school year. Kentucky Teacher is doing a series of stories explaining the Unbridled Learning: College/Career Readiness for All assessment and accountability system this month. This article focuses on accountability. The system is subject to United States Education Department approval and may be changed prior to adoption.
By Matthew Tungate
Anyone can understand Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning assessment and accountability system if they understand the basic concept, according to one of its designers.
“We’re going to give schools one score, tell them they’re better than a certain percentage of schools and tell them we want to improve that percentage each year,” Office of Assessment and Accountability Associate Commissioner Ken Draut said. “At the highest level, it’s a very simple system.”
In late summer 2011, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) approved an even simpler accountability system it was ready to use. Under that version of the plan, schools would have received a score and been placed in one of three categories: needs improvement, proficient or distinguished. But they would not have had an annual improvement goal for accountability. However, waiver guidelines from federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act regulations require the state to enact annual measurable objectives (AMOs) for schools and districts.
That caused Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) staff to redraft parts of the accountability system, Draut said.
“What we wanted to do, of course, from the beginning was move our single state accountability system into this area to take the place of the NCLB accountability system, so we would have one accountability system model, not two,” he told the board in December. “That’s caused problems over the years.” Read the full story