Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Education Commissioner Terry Holliday

Since Senate Bill 1 (2009) was enacted, Kentucky has certainly been seen as a leader in the nation for our work in implementing college/career-ready standards, assessments, a new accountability system and professional development for educators. As these core processes begin to stabilize after three full years of implementation, it is important that Kentucky look at the results of our efforts and make the necessary adjustments to help even more students graduate from high school who are prepared for college, careers, and citizenship.

Throughout the next year, Kentucky will be focused on several key topics. We will review results of our accountability system with all stakeholder groups and make recommendations for any adjustments to the Kentucky Board of Education. We will fully implement the Professional Growth and Effectiveness System for teachers, principals, and superintendents. Finally, we will be looking for innovative ways to deliver instruction and assess student performance that are grounded in what students need to be competitive in the 21st century.

The results from our Senate Bill 1 accountability model (now called Unbridled Learning) will be known to districts beginning in late summer. We are already talking with stakeholder groups about replacement assessments for the Explore and Plan tests that the ACT folks are discontinuing. Also, we are looking at replacement tests for our high school end-of-course assessments due to our concerns about alignment with our Kentucky Core Academic Standards and the poor delivery of the online assessments by ACT. These decisions will be made in late summer.

Our timeline for revisions to the Unbridled Learning system will include discussions with all advisory groups, public input, and culminate with the second annual local superintendent summit in September. The recommendations from all of the groups will result in key recommendations being made to the Kentucky Board of Education in the fall of 2014 and subsequent changes to the accountability regulations being made in the December – April timeframe. The key question for our stakeholders and the Kentucky Board of Education will be the implementation date of new assessments and revisions to the state accountability model.

Through this blog, I am asking stakeholders to begin to think about two key questions.

1. ACT has announced the end of the tests that Kentucky gives to all 8th graders (Explore) and 10th graders (Plan). Kentucky has a choice to continue giving the test in the fall of 2014, however, that will be the final administration. A key question to consider is do we replace Explore and Plan for this coming year or do we administer one more time in the fall of 2014 and then replace in 2015-16?

2. KDE has always been committed to reviewing the results of the Unbridled Learning accountability model after three years of data. The third year data will be released this fall. Should KDE implement stakeholder recommend changes for the 2014-15 accountability report cards or should KDE delay implementation of stakeholder recommendations until 2015-16?

There are many pros and cons for the choices prompted by these two questions. Through this blog and many upcoming meetings, KDE will be seeking input from stakeholders so we can bring forward well informed recommendations to the Kentucky Board of Education this fall.

Thanks to all of our advisory groups for your careful thoughts and suggestions so that Kentucky education can continue to be seen as the leader in education reform in the nation and more importantly so we can continue to do what is right for our children.