School Curriculum Assessment Accountability Council Meeting graphic 3.21.23

Officials with the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) updated members of the School Curriculum Assessment and Accountability Council (SCAAC) on potential changes to the state’s accountability system.

Jennifer Stafford, director of the Division of Assessment and Accountability Support in the KDE Office of Assessment and Accountability, said the state is on track to administer Kentucky Summative Assessments (KSA) in spring 2023, in partnership with the test vendor, Pearson.

She also said office hours will be available with KDE and Pearson support staff to help test administrators or other district officials.

Rhonda Sims, associate commissioner in KDE’s Office of Assessment and Accountability, said KDE learned a lot from what the department did in 2022 to report a school or district’s status in Kentucky’s accountability system, but the complexity of what is ahead this year increases significantly as the school or district’s change is added.

In 2020, Kentucky’s General Assembly redesigned the state’s accountability system to include status and change. Status is the school or district’s current year performance, and change is how the current year compares to the prior year.

Currently, KDE is developing policy with guidance from the Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC) and other groups ahead of workshops scheduled for June 22-23 on Indicator Performance Level Descriptors and School Performance Level Descriptors. The Standard Setting Workshop will follow on Sept. 13-15.

By October, KDE and LSAC will review and approve any recommendations, accountability reports will be issued, and the final standard setting report will be released.

Based on experiences and advice from Kentucky’s Technical Advisory Committee (KTAC), Sims said KDE is developing detailed plans for standard setting with some guidelines in mind:

  • Keeping it simple and easy to follow;
  • Ensuring the system can detect meaningful progress while being reliable; and
  • Make sure the system reflects policy values.

Released Items

Jana Beth Francis, chair of SCAAC, told council members about new KDE released items that will help districts understand the KSA. The released items are resources designed to help educators and students become familiar with the assessment and item format, and how the items are measuring students’ knowledge of Kentucky’s academic standards.

In her role as the director of Assessment, Research and Curriculum Development for Daviess County Public Schools, Francis said she used the released items as professional learning for teachers.

“I think the big challenge we have is that we often take an assessment and we don’t know how to translate that information into the classroom,” she said.

Francis said teachers in the district were asked to think about the content and teaching methods students would need to be successful on the assessments, and then they actually took a test based on the released items.

“This was a real opportunity for teachers to experience what it’s like for students to take the test,” she said.

They also cross-examined each test item with the Kentucky Academic Standards to understand how the questions connect to the standards.

Francis highlighted the resources available on the KY Standards webpage to further help districts with the KSA, the Kentucky Academic Standards and more.

In other business:

  • KDE Chief Performance Officer Karen Dodd updated the council on the Kentucky United We Learn Council. The council’s three committees – based around the key principles of vibrant learning experiences, accelerating innovation and building a bold new future with communities – meet to advance discussion of potential assessment and accountability reforms. The next full United We Learn Council meeting is April 25-26.

The next SCAAC meeting is July 18.