College/career readiness is a bright spot in data

The first results from Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning accountability model indicate that, in 2011-12, slightly more than 47 percent of the state’s public high school students were prepared for college and/or careers, the Kentucky Department of Education announced today.

This is a nine-percentage-point increase from the 2010-11 school year, for which the average college- and career-readiness rate was 38 percent.

“This increase, which translates to more than 4,500 students, is a direct result of Kentucky’s schools’ and districts’ focus on college and career readiness,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The overriding goal of the state’s public education system is to prepare students for the paths they want to take after high school, and these data show that we are making progress toward that goal.”

College/Career Readiness is one of five major components of the Unbridled Learning accountability model, which was applied to test scores and other data for the first time for the 2011-12 school year. The data released today is the first from the new model and includes information about Achievement, Gap, Growth, College/Career Readiness and Graduation Rate.

Public schools and school districts receive overall scores on a scale of 0 to 100 in the new model. On average, the statewide school overall score was 55.2. For elementary schools, the average was 57.3; for middle schools, 53.5; and for high schools, 54.8.

“Because this year’s data is the first from the Unbridled Learning model, I encourage educators, parents, communities, elected officials and others with a stake in public education to think of these classifications as a starting point for improvement,” said Holliday. “Although more than two-thirds of schools and districts are in the Needs Improvement category, this is not an indicator of failure. The Unbridled Learning model is one of continuous improvement, and schools and districts now have a wealth of data to use as they plan for improvement in student learning and achievement.”

Schools and districts also are placed in Rewards and Assistance Categories, based on overall scores and other data.

For more details, including disaggregated data, visit the School Report Card on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website. Not to be confused with student report cards, these Report Cards provide information about each school and district, including test performance, teacher qualifications, student safety, awards, parent involvement and much more. The School and District Report Cards were established by statute, KRS 158.6453, and regulation, 703 KAR 5:140. Additionally, the Report Cards must incorporate the requirements of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act.