(FRANKFORT, KY) – On Tuesday, Oct. 1, educators, parents, students and education stakeholders will see for the first time how their local schools are performing under Kentucky’s new 5-star accountability system. The system can be viewed in the form of an online dashboard on the Kentucky School Report Card.*

The report for each school or district will show graphics displaying the overall identification of one to five stars, federal designations, the performance on indicators (from very low to very high), and any statistically significant achievement gaps.

The Kentucky Department of Education has been working with the U.S. Department of Education (USED) to align the new 5-star accountability system with the federal Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The system does not rely solely on students’ proficiency on state standardized examinations. Instead, as recommended by the many stakeholders who have had a hand in designing the system during the past four years, the following diverse accountability indicators factor into a school’s overall five-star rating:

  • Reading and math proficiency
  • Proficiency in social studies, science and writing
  • Students’ academic growth/progress over one academic year
  • Transition readiness (historically known as college and career readiness)
  • Graduation rate

Kentucky’s accountability system complies with ESSA requirements and follows USED’s guidance on measures in each of the required indicators and for the identification of schools.

For the 2018-2019 release, the federal designations of Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) – which is new terminology introduced by Senate Bill 175 (2019) and aligned with ESSA – will be assigned to qualifying schools. Schools will be designated as CSI if they are a Title I or non-Title I elementary, middle or high school that scores within the bottom 5% of schools by level. A high school with less than an 80% graduation rate also will receive a CSI designation.

In the fall of 2018, 418 schools were identified as Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI) Tier 2. All of those identified schools met the requirements and expectations under ESSA for ATSI and were federally reported as ATSI schools pursuant to ESSA Section 1111(d)(2)(C)-(D). Beginning with reporting this fall, the department will adopt the ATSI terminology and will designate for ATSI any school identified for TSI Tier 2 in the fall of 2018 that failed to meet the exit criteria outlined in 703 KAR 5:280. Per the regulation, because no additional schools are being designated as ATSI this year, schools designated as TSI-Tier II (ATSI) in fall 2018 will exit ATSI status if they demonstrated progress on the data that served as the basis for identification in 2018. Use of the ATSI terminology is a technical change that aligns with current federal and state law and is not a substantive change to any school’s designation.

There will be no new schools identified for ATSI for 2019-2020. The next round of ATSI identification will occur in the fall of 2021. Additionally, there will be no TSI designations for 2019-2020. Beginning with the 2020-2021 school year and annually thereafter, the department will identify schools for TSI.

No funding will be withheld from schools or districts that do not rate highly; rather, the CSI schools will receive extra funding and support from the Kentucky Department of Education to help implement research-based strategies that will increase achievement for its students.

Under Senate Bill 1 (2017), all schools are required to create an improvement plan based on their accountability results. Schools that have been designated as CSI must be audited by a turnaround team selected by the local board of education. The audit must include:

  • A diagnosis of the causes of a school’s low performance;
  • An assessment and recommendation to the superintendent regarding the principal’s capacity to function or develop as a turnaround specialist, including if the principal should be reassigned to a comparable position in the school district;
  • An assessment of the interaction and relationship between the superintendent, central office personnel and the school principal;
  • A recommendation of the steps the school may implement to launch and sustain a turnaround process; and,
  • A recommendation to the local board of education of the turnaround principles and strategies necessary for the superintendent to assist the school with turnaround.

“Kentucky’s new school accountability system is giant leap forward for our public education system,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis. “It provides an unprecedented degree of transparency for stakeholders, recognizes schools’ progress on a diverse set of indicators, gives significant weight to students’ academic progress and their readiness for college and careers, and gives greater visibility and weight to achievement gap closure than ever before. This system will be a key policy lever for increasing student achievement and better preparing each and every Kentucky student for success in postsecondary education and the workforce.”

*The kyschoolreportcard.com site is live now using 2017-2018 data. The site will be updated with 2018-2019 data starting Tuesday, Oct. 1.