The majority of teachers and leaders evaluated in the first year of statewide implementation of Kentucky’s Professional Growth and Effectiveness System (PGES) were rated exemplary or accomplished, the Kentucky Board of Education learned at its meeting Aug. 6.

Under the system, about a third of certified educators in the state are evaluated each year. In 2014-15, about 16,700 teachers and about 1,400 principals and assistant principals received summative ratings.

Professional Growth and Effectiveness System Overall Summative Ratings 2014-15

Rating Teachers Leaders
Exemplary 28% 26%
Accomplished 65.5% 63%
Developing 6.3% 11%
Ineffective >1% 0%


“What we know is that our numbers are pretty reflective of what we are seeing nationwide,” Commissioner Terry Holliday said. “But we are concerned about the distribution. How can most teachers be rated high, yet only 50 percent of our students are performing at the highest levels?”

He reminded the board that the system is designed to promote professional growth among educators.

“We shouldn’t focus on the label; we should focus on the feedback and how teachers can use it to grow and improve,” Holliday said. “That will take a shift in culture.”

“It will take time, but it is worth the effort,” board member Nawanna Privett said.

Holliday told the board that despite glitches in the technology platform used for PGES, most teachers and partners feel the system is important and support moving forward with it.

In an effort to improve implementation of the system and increase its effectiveness, in the upcoming year the Kentucky Department of Education will provide more support for principals to provide high quality feedback to teachers, work to build capacity for use of the system in districts and increase the flexibility of the technology platform used for PGES.

During its meeting, the board debated how to use teacher and leader effectiveness as a component in the accountability system, as has long been discussed. There was some concern that the system might not “be ready for primetime” to include in accountability and that doing so could artificially inflate accountability scores and discourage the professional growth that the system is meant to promote.

Ultimately, the board voted not to include educator effectiveness as a specific measure in accountability, but to report the aggregate data publicly by district and state and revisit the issue next year.

In other action, the board:

  • Unanimously re-elected Roger Marcum to serve a third term as chair and Jay Parrent to serve a second term as vice-chair for the board in 2015-16
  • Gave final approval to 702 KAR 1:170, School District Data Security and Breach Procedures
  • Approved District Facility Plans for Carter County, Hancock County, Marion County, Meade County and Robertson County school districts
  • Approved District Facility Plan Amendments for Corbin Independent and Kenton County school districts
  • Approved a waiver request of 702 KAR 5:030, Section 22, from the Jefferson County Public Schools
  • Approved the 2014-15 Local District Tax Rate for the Johnson County school district

Also at the meeting, the board reviewed:

  • Proposed items, beyond baseline funding, to include in the Kentucky Department of Education’s 2016-18 biennial budget request. Final approval of the 2016-18 Biennial Budget Request will be considered at the board’s October meeting.
  • Potential legislative agenda items for the 2016 regular session of the General Assembly. The board will finalize the list at its October meeting.
  • Information on how the Kentucky Department of Education is complying with achievement gap legislation. Although the Kentucky Department of Education has exceeded its responsibilities under KRS 158.649, the department has additionally and further strengthened its efforts to reduce achievement gaps by adopting a Novice Reduction Plan. Through this plan, the Kentucky Department of Education will work with districts to:
    • design and deploy standards
    • design and deliver instruction
    • design and deliver an assessment literacy process
    • review, analyze and apply data results
    • design, align and deliver support processes
    • establish a learning culture and environment
    • align community support partners
    • monitor implementation of legal requirements

The most effective strategies within these areas will be identified and shared with schools and districts so they will have resources to use as they review their work focus on Novice Reduction.

Additionally at its meeting, the board voted to include another person in the pool of candidates that it may interview to be the next commissioner of education. The action occurred after the board received additional information on one of the 44 applicants. Pending additional information that is being gathered on the semi-finalists, the board agreed to interview up to 16 applicants Aug. 14-15 in Louisville.

The next regular meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education is scheduled for Oct. 6 in Frankfort.