The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE) Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC) discussed how to move forward with setting accountability standards this year during the LSAC meeting on May 30.
The changes started when state lawmakers passed Senate Bill 158 (2020), which amends KRS 158.6455 to create an accountability system for all public schools in the state using multiple measures that describe each district’s overall performance, along with the performances of individual schools and specific groups of students.
SB 158 requires districts to be evaluated on “status” and “change” for state indicators, which include student assessment results, progress toward achieving English proficiency by English learners, quality of school climate and safety, high school graduation rates and postsecondary readiness. Status indicates how the school or district performed in the current year’s assessments, while change indicates how the school or district’s status changed compared to the previous year.
The Kentucky School Report Card provided new status indicators for schools and districts based on a color-coded scale for the 2021-2022 school year – ranging from blue (the highest), to green, yellow, orange and red (the lowest). School officials now are preparing to reveal new change indicators based on how schools either improved, maintained or declined based on the previous year.
Staff members from the Center for Assessment, a national organization that helps KDE with accountability and assessments, facilitated discussion among LSAC members based on three questions:
- Should the standard setting committee be encouraged to maintain comparability in status performance level cut scores between 2022 and 2023?
- Should the standard setting panel be encouraged to consider defining a change rating of “maintained” as “at least as high as the previous year” or “performance within a certain margin (higher/lower) of the previous year?”
- Should the standard setting panel be encouraged to consider defining different change cut scores for each status level, or should the same cut score define change regardless of status level?
LSAC members discussed how using multiple years of data to set cut scores for status is better than using only one year of data.
“I think that was the most important point to be made was that it’s not volatile,” said Anderson County Schools Superintendent Sheila Mitchell. “That we’re not going up and down and moving all around and that we have a good, clear picture that a high-performing school is a high-performing school.”
The current plan includes workshops in June and September to review status cut scores for each indicator using 2022 data as a starting point, while considering 2023 performance and establish change cut scores for each indicator based on the difference in status scores in 2023 compared to 2022, among other items.
LSAC Chairman and Lawrence County Schools Superintendent Robbie Fletcher said it’s his priority that schools and districts aren’t punished harshly for any dramatic swings in the change indicators.
“If you’re a blue school and decrease two points and remain blue, you’re not as worried about the blue school. As a matter of fact, you may even celebrate that as a blue school, that you have maintained if you’re within two points,” said Fletcher. “But if you’re a red school and you’ve dropped two points, there’s a higher cause for alarm.”
Finally, LSAC unanimously voted for Fletcher and Mitchell to represent the council on the accountability standards setting committee.
Review and approval of the final cut scores and decisions is expected by the education commissioner and LSAC in October.
In other business:
- LSAC discussed pending changes to 702 KAR 7:065, dealing with interscholastic athletics after House Bill 331 (2023) implemented new requirements surrounding the use of portable automated external defibrillators.
The next LSAC meeting is scheduled for July 25.