Call to Order and Roll Call
The meeting of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee was held on Monday, November 18, 2013, at 1:00 PM, in Room 129 of the Capitol Annex. Senator Mike Wilson, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: Marty White, Kentucky Association of School Superintendents, Erin Klarer, Kentucky Higher Education Assistance Authority, Carrie Bearden, Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children, Clyde Caudill Kentucky Association of School Administrators and Jefferson County Public Schools, and Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators.
Approval of Minutes, October 21, 2013 Meeting
Representative Tim Couch moved to approve the minutes, and Representative Mary Lou Marzian seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by voice vote.
Office of Education Accountabilityís Proposed 2014 Research Agenda
Emily Spurlock, Division Manager, Office of Education Accountability (OEA), said pursuant to KRS 7.410, the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee (EAARS) shall adopt an annual research agenda for OEA. The annual agenda may include studies, research, and investigations considered significant by EAARS. OEA will first complete the annual district data profiles publication in addition to three study topics.
The first study topic is an Atlas of Education Data, which is a reference tool for statewide thematic maps of education data as well as contextual data, such as demographics, for all Kentucky school districts. The second study topic is a ten year study on education revenue, spending, and staffing trends. This report will look at the past ten years of education data and examine changes that have occurred in that time period. Topics will include changes in revenues, enrollment, spending, and staffing variations. The revenue trends will be broken down by federal, state, and local sources. The third study topic will be the college and career ready measure. In recent years, the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) has included in the accountability model a measure of whether a student is ready for college and a career. Some school districts are implementing policies that require students to be deemed college or career ready before they are eligible to graduate. This report will explore the types of measures included and the characteristics of each one, how the components are weighted, and how the measures vary between districts and district results over the last three years.
In response to Senator David Givensí question regarding communications between OEA and the Auditorís Office, Marcia Seiler, Acting Director, Legislative Research Commission, said OEA has been in touch with the Auditorís Office through the years regarding different projects OEA has worked on and the reports OEA sends to the Auditor.
In response to Senator Gerald Nealís question regarding study agenda topics and concerns discussed with OEA at the September 12, 2013 meeting, Ms. Seiler said OEA responded to his concerns with an email that provided data points from a prior study. He indicated that he would like these data points included in 2014 and future studies.
Representative Rita Smart said it would be helpful if OEAís investigative reports included columns and dates so legislators could track the cases by date.
Approval of OEAís 2014 Study Agenda
Senator David Givens moved to approve the 2014 study agenda, and Representative Rita Smart seconded the motion. The 2014 study agenda was approved by voice vote.
2012-2013 Unbridled Learning Assessment and Accountability Results
Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner, Office of Assessment and Accountability, KDE, said KDE recently completed the second year of testing. In grades three through eight over 300,000 students were tested and over 180,000 students were tested in the end of course high school testing program.
Mr. Draut said that, after the last two years, reading scores in high school and middle school went up and the elementary scores went slightly down. The mathematics scores went up in elementary and middle school and high school scores dropped. The testing scores for science went up for high school and elementary and middle school scores dropped. Social Studies scores went up in high schools and middle schools and dropped in elementary schools. On the writing on-demand and language mechanics part of the test, scores went up in elementary, middle, and high school.
In response to Chairman Mike Wilsonís question regarding why test scores have went down for high school mathematics, Mr. Draut said each new class of students tests differently. KDE would like to see three to four years of testing to establish meaningful trend lines.
Mr. Draut said the number of elementary students at the novice level decreased in reading, mathematics, social studies, and language mechanics and increased in science and writing on-demand. At the middle school and high school level there was a decrease in every content area at the novice level.
In response to Senator David Givensí question regarding high school students moving from proficient to apprentice levels, Mr. Draut reiterated the need for four years of data to establish a trend.
Mr. Draut explained that there are two parts to KDEís GAP data. KDE takes a non-duplicated group of students who are traditionally underperforming and put them into a single group, KDE then tracks the GAP scores over time to see if there is an increase in performance. At the elementary and middle school level, there was an increase in every content area for non-duplicated GAP group students scoring proficient and distinguished. At the high school level there was an increase in every content area except mathematics.
Mr. Draut said another component of the accountability system is growth and student growth percentiles. KDE takes a studentsí beginning test score from 2012 and tracks the student through the 2013 school year to see how the student did. KDE uses the student growth percentile model that is used by 25 other states. This model compares how a student does compared to academic peers. Another accountability category is the graduation rate. KDE uses an adjusted cohort rate which follows a student from freshman year through graduation. Every state uses this rate, and Kentucky was the last state to start it. Kentuckyís graduation rate is 86.1 percent which puts the state in the top 20 states in the country in regard to graduation rates.
In response to Chairman Wilsonís question regarding the size of the adjusted cohort rate, Mr. Draut said KDE generally estimates a class of 50,000 students in the ninth grade and follows them through graduation.
Mr. Draut said another component for accountability tracking is the college and career readiness rate. The college readiness rate is based on ACT scores and how many students met the ACT benchmark. The Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) has set the benchmark for ACT scores. If the CPE benchmark is met, there is an agreement from every public university in Kentucky that the student is ready to enroll in credit bearing courses. The career readiness rate focuses on technical readiness and academic readiness. ACT provides a WorkKeys test that business and industries use and the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery test that the military uses. Also, a student has to be able to show technical skills by taking a skills test in a selected career area. Over the past two years, the number of college and career ready students has gone up 7 percentage points.
In response to Representative Rita Smartís question regarding a standardized method of obtaining test information from high schools, Mr. Draut said his office has staff that ensures that all assessments and students are accounted for. The tests are administered in late April and early May and KDE sends the test results back to the schools by the beginning of August.
Kelly Foster, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts, said priority schools in Kentucky are categorized by cohorts. Cohort 1 schools are persistently low-achieving (PLA) schools that are the lowest five percent or Title 1 eligible schools that failed to make their adequate yearly progress goal or had a graduation rate of 60 percent or less for three consecutive years. The first cohort of PLA schools was identified in 2010-11. Cohort two schools in 2011-12, are schools KDE identified in the next five percent of lowest performing schools in the state now called Priority Schools as a part of its USED flexibility waiver. The second cohort consisted of 12 Priority Schools. In 2012-13, the third cohort of 19 priority schools was identified. With the closure of one Priority School and the exiting of another this past school year, 39 priority schools exist in Kentucky for the 2013-14 school year.
Dr. Foster said there was a lot of improvement in the 2012-13 test scores and out of the original 41 schools that were previously identified in the bottom five percent, six schools scored in the distinguished category, seven schools scored in the proficient category, and 19 schools were categorized as progressing in addition to their classification as distinguished, proficient, or needs improvement. Also, 11 of the 41 schools had overall scores above the state average; 36 of the 41 schools met their annual measurable objective; 21 of the 41 schools achieved their college and career ready targets; and four schools made the rewards category of high progress, which requires a school to be in the top 10 percent of improvement in all schools.
Dr. Foster said KDE has provided education recovery staff to work in each of the priority schools. The education recovery staff consists of an education recovery leader who mentors the principal in the school turnaround and two education recovery specialists for literacy and math. KDE would like to continue the priority school work and state funds from different sources have been used to support the education recovery staff. However, no state funds are currently appropriated to support this program for the future. Dr. Foster said in order to continue the transformative work with Kentuckyís lowest-performing schools, the Kentucky Board of Education approved for KDE to request $3.4 million for fiscal year 2015 and $4.77 million for fiscal year 2016.
In response to Chairman Mike Wilsonís question regarding factors that make priority schools different and require additional funding, Dr. Foster said the main factor is the leadership and staff of the school.
In response to Senator David Givensí questions regarding the 39 priority schools being in the bottom five percent and funding for education recovery staff, Dr. Foster said those schools would not be in the bottom five percent today. Out of the 39 schools that were originally in the bottom five percent, only ten are left. Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, KDE, Office of Administration and Support, said PLA school money was terminated in fiscal year 2012 and KDE only had $6 million left in the budget for the effort. A combination of funds was used to pay for the priority school work that came from KDEís leftover general fund dollars for school improvement and federal money.
In response Representative Tim Couchís question regarding major problems that were found at Leslie County High School, Dr. Foster said the typical things that are seen include schoolsí leadership not focused on meeting the individual student needs; and a data system for teachers that has them wait until the end of the school year to see how a student is performing. Teachers are able to assess and monitor progress of the student daily with the new data system.
In response to Senator Gerald Nealís questions regarding plans and best practices within priority schools and the population related to the issues of GAP, Dr. Foster said the education recovery staff provides the best practices and plans for the current staff so when the staff leaves, the work is still continued. Dr. Foster said KDE looks at the different GAP area of students in each school to determine where the gaps are.
In response to Senator David Givensí question regarding KDEís budget priorities chart, Mr. Desai said at one point the priorities were in a different order. The chart is now the consensus priority list from the Kentucky State Board of Education and the school districts.
In response to Chairman Mike Wilsonís question regarding Site Based Decision Making Councils having the superintendent involved in hiring principals, Dr. Foster said it has been helpful to have the superintendent involved in hiring principals to ensure that the right person is leading the school.
Chairman Mike Wilson commended Franklin Simpson High School, the principal, and the Career and Technical Education Center for the work they have been doing.
With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 2:20 p.m.