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Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning: Explaining new school accountability assessment

The Kentucky School Boards Association recently held regional meetings across the commonwealth to explain the new school accountability assessment, overall known as Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning. These are Graves County Schools Superintendent Pete Galloway’s notes from the meeting held in Clinton Monday evening, Oct. 29.

Five components are used to measure accountability in the new system.  These five factors produce an overall score. Like scores are grouped in percentiles – each school and district has a percentile rank and a classification based on that rank.

Those schools and districts scoring in the 90th percentile or higher are ranked as Distinguished. Those between the 70th and 89th percentile are called Proficient. Those ranking in the 69th percentile or below will fall into the Needs Improvement category.

Soon, program reviews as well as teacher and leader effectiveness components will be worked in the formula. Program reviews will account for 20 percent of the total of the overall score in 2014-15. Teacher and leader effectiveness will account for 10 percent of the total, starting with the 2014-15 school year.

Schools and districts will have an overall annual goal to meet as they work toward 100. They are called “annual measurable objective” or “AMOs.”  Similar goals are set for each of the five components. Stair-step-like targets will be established for schools and districts as a guide to stay on track to meet the ultimate goals.

School report cards are now considered a one-stop shop for all data released relating to assessment and accountability.

Using the Commissioner’s analogy of a student’s grade in a particular class, one could say at the high school level each of the components account for 20 percent. Achievement could be compared to the homework grade. Gap could be compared to the grades that are made on quizzes. Growth could be the grades that the student earned on unit tests. College and career readiness could be the grade that the student gets on class participation and graduation rate might be compared to the grade that the student earns on a project/final exam.

The percentile rank is how the score compares with all scores considered, such as student, class, schools, and district.

At the middle school level only four of the five components are considered. They are achievement, gap, growth, and college and career readiness.  Achievement, gap and growth each account for 28 percent of the overall score, while college and career readiness amounts to 16 percent of the total. Graduation rate is not applicable to middle school.

At the elementary level, achievement accounts for 30 percent, the gap for 30 percent, and growth amounts to 40 percent of the total score. Neither graduation rate nor college and career readiness is used in the elementary formula.

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