Board delays counting Program Reviews, gets first look at weights of accountability components

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Nami Stager, science and writing teacher at Northern Elementary School (Fayette County), is kissed by her dad C.J. Shukla after being recognized by the Kentucky Board of Education for being named a 2010 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award recipient. Also pictured are her grandmother, Jayaben Shukla, left; her husband, Robert Stager; and her mother, Hema Shukla. Photo by Amy Wallot, June 8, 2011
Nami Stager, science and writing teacher at Northern Elementary School (Fayette County), is kissed by her dad C.J. Shukla after being recognized by the Kentucky Board of Education for being named a 2010 Milken Family Foundation National Educator Award recipient. Also pictured are her grandmother, Jayaben Shukla, left; her husband, Robert Stager; and her mother, Hema Shukla. Photo by Amy Wallot, June 8, 2011

By Matthew Tungate
matthew.tungate@education.ky.gov

Program Reviews will not be counted as part of Kentucky’s accountability system next school year, although schools will still implement them, under a plan presented to the Kentucky Board of Education at its June 8 meeting.

Program Reviews have been piloted in three areas: arts and humanities, practical living and career studies, and writing. Rather than testing students to see what they have learned, a school gathers evidence about how it integrates the subjects across its curricula and whether the school provides students with high-quality learning opportunities. The school then uses that information to improve its programs.

Program Reviews will be included in the 2011-12 accountability system through field testing and public reporting of results. Full accountability for Program Reviews will begin in the 2012-13 school year. During a work session before the board meeting, Commissioner Terry Holliday said schools will implement Program Reviews in the upcoming school year to get a baseline measure of where they stand.

Under a proposal brought to the board by Associate Commissioner Felicia Cumings Smith, schools would receive up to 100 points for each of the three Program Reviews. Each score would be multiplied by 33.3 percent.

Program Reviews in world language and elementary primary programs will be implemented in coming years, with each counted equally under the plan. Holliday told the board that schools likely will have four Program Reviews, as elementary schools likely will not have world language Program Reviews and middle and high schools will not have primary Program Reviews.

The board will vote on whether to approve the plan at its August meeting.

The proposed accountability model incorporates all aspects of school and district work. It includes student testing, gap, growth, college/career readiness and graduation rate (Next-Generation Learners), principal and teacher effectiveness (Next-Generation Professionals), and Program Reviews (Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support). The board removed a school’s participation rate on the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) working conditions survey, which was taken for the first time this spring, from Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support.

Each area of accountability to be phased in
Associate Commissioner Ken Draut said the accountability model will be fully implemented in 2014. Until then, results from the Next-Generation Learners component in the 2011-12 school year will count as 100 percent of each school’s and district’s accountability score for next year, Draut said.

The following year, results from the Next-Generation Learners will count as 60 percent and results from Program Reviews will count as 40 percent of each school’s and district’s accountability score, he said. In the 2013-14 school year, teacher and principal effectiveness will be incorporated into each school’s and district’s accountability score, Draut said.

Value of each accountability area discussed
How much weight each of the three categories should carry was one of the main discussions board members had as part of a broader discussion on the school and district accountability recognition and support system.

The plan proposed that schools and districts receive an overall score: 60 percent from student data, 20 percent from Program Reviews and 20 percent from principal and teacher effectiveness. However, board member Roger Marcum proposed reducing Next-Generation Learners by 10 percent and adding it to Program Reviews, so that as more are added, each still carries significant weight.

Board member Dorie Combs also wanted to increase Program Reviews to 30 percent, but she suggested taking 10 percent from teacher and principal effectiveness. She said teacher and principal effectiveness will be evident in the results of student testing and Program Reviews.

“If it’s there and it’s measured effectively, it should affect the other two,” she said.

Board member Judy Gibbons agreed, saying she didn’t think the 50-30-20 model gave enough weight to student performance.

Board member Billy Harper said teacher and principal effectiveness needs more emphasis than Combs and Gibbons suggested.

“I think we need to say we’re serious about good teachers, and 20 percent says that more than 10 percent,” he said.

The rest of the board agreed with Harper and decided that schools’ and districts’ overall scores will be based 50 percent on student data, 30 percent on Program Reviews and 20 percent on principal and teacher effectiveness.

Recognitions and supports depend on classifications
Associate Commissioner Larry Stinson told the board, “When Kentucky’s accountability model is fully developed and operational, schools and districts will be placed into a classification (i.e., distinguished, proficient, needs improvement). For each classification, the KBE must determine how to recognize success and assist toward improvement.”

The proposed plan calls for schools and districts that do well to be recognized with flags, Web logos and a visit from the commissioner of education. Schools and districts that need support will be required to revise their comprehensive improvements plans to include specific criteria, such as curriculum alignment, professional development and strategies to monitor and modify instruction, among others. Those schools and districts within the lowest 20 percent of schools classified as Needs Improvement will have to submit their plans for approval to the Kentucky Department of Education.

“I think it is reasonable to expect Needs Improvement to be our largest group,” Stinson said.

The board will vote on the plan at its August meeting.

Board tweaks value of college/career-ready students
The board approved the Next-Generation Learners component of the accountability model at its April meeting. Schools and districts will be accountable for five areas: student achievement; closing achievement gaps; showing growth/progress; college and career readiness (middle and high schools); and graduation rates (high schools).

Under college and career readiness, schools and districts receive a point for each percentage of students who are considered college- and/or career-ready. While the board had agreed to use ACT results as a benchmark for college readiness, it had not decided how to define career readiness for those who did not receive an appropriate ACT score.

At it June meeting, the board agreed that a student must meet one requirement each in the areas of Career Academic and Career Technical to be considered career ready. Career Academic includes ACT WorkKeys and Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) assessments; Career Technical includes Kentucky Occupational Skill Standards Assessment (KOSSA) and industry certificates.

Holliday told the board that under the current plan, schools and districts do not receive extra percentage points for students who are both college and career ready – but it could choose to give a bonus for such students.

“This would be a pretty strong policy statement that you strongly support career readiness in Kentucky,” Holliday said.

Marcum said he supported the move.

“I think it’s time we stop giving lip-service to the importance of technical education in this state,” he said.

Board member Brigitte Ramsey said she was concerned that schools may encourage students who are participating in programs such as visual and performing arts to instead participate in technical-oriented classes in hopes of receiving bonus points under the assessment and accountability system.

Holliday said he thought it could have the opposite effect, encouraging schools to create career clusters in more areas, such as the visual or performing arts.

Some board members were concerned about potential unintended consequences to schools’ and districts’ scores, but Draut said there were ways to mitigate such a problem, like limiting schools from receiving more than 100 points.

The board agreed to give half a point extra to students who are both career- and college-ready under the Readiness for College/Career indicator, which counts as 20 percent of a high school’s Next-Generation Learners score.

In other business, the board:

  • voted to approve issuing extensions to local school board members elected in 2009 or appointed in 2010 and who have not yet completed required in-service training for 2010
  • agreed to send correspondence to local school board members not elected in 2009 or appointed in 2010 and who have not yet completed required in-service training for 2010
  • approved the 2012 local school board member In-Service Training Plan
  • approved facilities plans for the Adair, Bullitt, Carter, Casey, Floyd, Franklin, Gallatin, Hancock, Harlan, Harrison, Hopkins, Jessamine, Knox, Letcher, Lewis, Livingston, Marion, Marshall, Mason, Meade, Morgan, Rowan, Simpson, Trigg and Union County school districts and the Barbourville, Bardstown, Beechwood, Bellevue, Berea, Bowling Green, Jackson, Middlesboro, Owensboro, Paris, Paintsville, Pikeville, Russellville and Somerset Independent school districts
  • agreed to direct the Ohio County Board of Education and Local Planning Committee to work with Kentucky Department of Education staff to identify appropriate methods to develop a revised facilities plan
  • approved an amended facilities plan for the Jefferson County school district
  • gave final approval to state regulation 702 KAR 6:110, the regulation related to claim reimbursement for school and community nutrition programs
  • approved the 2012 Kentucky Minimum Specifications for School Buses
  • approved the re-appointment of John W. Hardy, associate principal of Campbell County High School, to the State Textbook Commission
  • approved the certification of nonpublic schools
  • approved the repeal of state regulation 704 KAR 3:340, which relates to the Commonwealth Diploma Program
  • agreed to uphold the commissioner’s decision related to the nonresident student agreement for the 2011-12 school year between the Corbin Independent school district and the Knox County school district
  • heard presentations and had discussions on the TELL Kentucky Survey results, the 2010-2012 biennial budget, annual reporting requirements for the Kentucky High School Athletics Association and alternative education

The Kentucky Board of Education’s annual retreat is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Kentucky School for the Deaf in Danville. The board will hold its regular meeting on Aug. 4 in Frankfort.

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