New accountability model discussed

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By Jesse Osbourne


The new accountability model for Kentucky’s public schools was one topic of discussion at the Oct. 15 school board meeting at Washington County Elementary School.

Lee Anne Ater, the district director of federal and state programs, spoke to the board about the new system.
Results will be revealed in late October or early November, she said.
A common message from school districts across the state, as well as the state’s education commissioner, is to expect lower test scores under the new model.
The new system replaces No Child Left Behind.
Ater said that when the scores are released, each school and district will receive an overall score based on scores in achievement, gap, growth, college / career readiness and graduation rate.
The overall score will be converted into a percentile score that will show the school and district and how it compares with all schools in Kentucky.
“The ultimate goal is to increase the overall score to reach the score associated with proficient,” Ater wrote in her report.
Each school and district will receive a single annual measurable objective (AMO) goal that starts in 2013, she said.
Those goals, she said, are not part of the state accountability but will be publicly reported.
The purpose of the goals, she said, is to help schools and districts focus on making progress in the areas measured.
Achievement includes test scores, end-of-course tests and on-demand writing.
“Schools will compare test results for African-American, Hispanic, Native American, special education, low income and limited English proficiency students, combined into one gap group, to results for other students who aren’t in those categories,” according to KDE.
According to KDE, growth will be measured using a statistical program that will gauge how much students’ scores are improving from one year to the next.
According to Ater’s presentation at the board meeting, the category compares a students score to that of his or her academic peers.
Schools and districts will be awarded points for the percentage of students with typical growth or better on the annual tests, according to Ater’s report.
College and career readiness will be gauged by test scores such as the EXPLORE test and the college / career readiness rate at the high school level.
At the middle school level, college and career readiness is measured by the percent of students meeting benchmarks in English, math and reading on the EXPLORE test, according to Ater’s report. The percent of students meeting the benchmarks in those subjects will be averaged to find the middle school readiness percentage.
At the high school level, readiness will be gauged by benchmarks in English, math and reading on tests such as ACT, Compass and KYOTE.
Career readiness will be measured by the ASVAB and by the KOSSA test.
Graduation rate will be measured using the averaged freshman graduation rate, according to Ater’s report.
Some of the recognition categories for the new system will include schools / districts of distinction (overall scores in the 95th percentile or higher), highest-performing schools / districts (overall scores in the 90th percentile or higher) and high-progress schools / districts (an improvement score in the top 10 percent of improvements).
Ater pointed out that the new system will also  include support categories.
One category includes focus schools. These are schools that include the lowest student GAP group scores, high schools with graduation rates below 60 percent and schools with individual gap groups in the third standard deviation below the mean, according to her report.
Also in the support category are focus districts, which are denoted by student GAP group scores in the bottom 10 percent for all districts.
The next regular scheduled school board meeting is Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. at Washington County High School.
Nora Hatton was absent. All other members were present.