Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee




<MeetMDY1> June 9, 2009, Meeting


The<MeetNo2> Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee met on<Day> Tuesday,<MeetMDY2> June 9, 2009, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 129 of the Capitol Annex.  Senator Jack Westwood called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.


Present were:


Members:<Members> Senators Dan Kelly, Jack Westwood, and Ken Winters; Representatives Bill Farmer, Harry Moberly Jr., and Kent Stevens.


Guests:  Senator Katie Stine; Representative Carl Rollins, II; and Wayne Young, Executive Director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators.


LRC Staff:  Sandy Deaton, Audrey Carr, Ken Warlick, Janet Stevens, Laura Blaser, and Janet Oliver.


The first order of business was election of the co-chairs by the respective members from each chamber. Representative Moberly nominated Representative Stevens and Representative Farmer seconded the motion.  Representative Moberly made a motion that the nominations cease and that Representative Stevens be elected House co-chair for the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee (EAARS) by acclamation.  The motion was seconded by Representative Farmer and approved by voice vote.  Representative Stevens assumed the chair and asked for nominations for Senate co-chair for EAARS.  Senator Winters nominated Senator Westwood and Senator Kelly seconded the motion.  Senator Winters made a motion that the nominations cease and that Senator Westwood be elected Senate co-chair by acclamation.  The motion was seconded by Senator Kelly and approved by voice vote.


Senator Westwood assumed the chair for the remainder of the meeting.


Senator Westwood asked for approval of the minutes of the December 9, 2008, meeting.  Representative Moberly made a motion that the minutes be approved.  Senator Winters seconded the motion and the motion was approved by voice vote.


Senator Westwood said that Senate Bill 1 passed in the last session of the General Assembly requires the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) to collaboratively plan and implement a process for revising the academic content standards in reading, language arts including writing, mathematics, science, social studies, arts and humanities and practical living skills and career studies.  He asked representatives from KDE and CPE to give their presentation on progress made to date in carrying out the requirements of the legislation.


Committee members were provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and various documents relating to Senate Bill 1.


The presentation was given by Ms. Elaine Farris, KDE Interim Commissioner; Ms. Jamie Spugnardi, KDE Associate Commissioner of Office of Teaching and Learning; Mr. Michael Miller, KDE Director of Office of Teaching and Learning; Mr. Ken Draut, KDE Associate Commissioner of the Office of Assessment and Accountability; Dr. Robert King, CPE President; and Dr. Sue Cain, CPE Coordinator for Developmental Education and College Readiness Initiative.   


Senator Westwood announced that Ms. Elaine Farris is leaving KDE to accept other employment and that Kevin Noland will serve as interim commissioner until the new commissioner is appointed.  He thanked Ms. Farris for the work she has done in education and in assisting legislators with their work.


Ms. Farris said that Senate Bill 1 requires KDE and CPE to collaborate on implementing a comprehensive process for revising the academic content standards.  She said Ms. Spugnardi and Mr. Miller would discuss the steps taken thus far in concert with CPE to develop the required plan. 


Dr. King said that Dr. Cain is currently on the faculty at Eastern Kentucky University and is serving as CPE’s liaison with KDE on this project.  He said that the adoption of Senate Bill 1 is extremely important in improving the educational outcomes for the state and that he is delighted to be a part of it.


Mr. Miller said the presentation relates to the components of Senate Bill 1 pertaining to the content standards for K-12, the readiness standards, and the introductory course standards at the postsecondary level.  He said the revised content standards as directed in the legislation will focus on critical knowledge, skills and capabilities and there will be fewer but more in-depth standards developed from evidence-based research using international benchmarks.  He said the standards are to be common from high school to introductory course expectations in postsecondary institutions.


Mr. Miller said the steering committee members include the Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Cabinet, legislators, CPE president, KDE commissioner, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) executive director, postsecondary institution presidents or provosts, and a public school superintendent.  He said the steering committee will provide oversight of all activities; review the process and timelime for revision of the college entry level course content standards plan; report policy implications back to their representative groups; provide guidance for evaluation; and develop procedures to complete the requirements of the legislation.


Mr. Miller said the content workgroup membership includes postsecondary faculty, public educators, and various entities already in place in the areas of literacy development, mathematics and science.  He explained that the content workgroup will analyze the common core standards scheduled to be released through the National Governor’s Association and Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO) and make recommendations regarding those standards; review and define standards for postsecondary introductory courses; and develop K-12 standards to match readiness levels for college and the workforce.


Mr. Miller said that Kentucky along with 49 other states and territories will participate in the Common Core Standards State Initiative.  He explained that national groups, such as ACT, SAT, and other experts, are doing the initial consultation for the standards and, when their work is completed, the standards will be validated by a select group.  He said Governor Beshear will submit nominations to the National Governor’s Association of persons from Kentucky interested in serving on the validation panel.  The goal is to have a common core of standards that states can voluntarily adopt. States may choose to include additional standards beyond the common core as long as the common core represents at least 85 percent of the state’s standards in English-language arts and mathematics. Mr. Miller provided information on the timeline for the mathematics and language arts common core standards with initial release anticipated for July 2009 and finalization and approval by December 2009.


Dr. Cain said that two workgroups are being assembled at the postsecondary level.  The College Readiness Workgroup will develop a unified strategy to reduce the need for remediation in postsecondary institutions or for students entering the workforce.  The membership for the workgroup has already been established and includes a representative from each public postsecondary institution, the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS), and the independent colleges and universities.  She said the group will review current postsecondary placement standards in mathematics, English, and reading and compare them with CCSSO standards when they are released.  Ms. Cain said the workgroup would also make recommendations regarding professional development for educators in P-20 and review the assessments and intervention systems.  Ms. Cain said that implementing the P-20 Data System will also be very important.  Dr. King added that CPE and KDE have reached agreement on the data system and it may be possible to use federal stimulus dollars to fund the system.  Ms. Cain said that it will also be important that the P-16 councils foster the necessary community relationships to involve parents, community leaders, and others in the process of eliminating the need for remediation.


Senator Westwood asked when the membership of the various workgroups will be identified.  Dr. Cain responded that the math group for postsecondary has been finalized.  She said that three of the public postsecondary institutions and the independent colleges have not named their college readiness representatives and that group will begin meeting as soon as the membership is named.  Mr. Miller said the P-12 groups will be meeting in July.  Senator Westwood asked for a point of contact for someone who has expressed an interest to him in serving on a workgroup, to which Mr. Miller responded that either he or Dr. Cain should be contacted. 


Senator Kelly praised the KDE and CPE staff on the vigorous and aggressive steps being taken in response to Senate Bill 1.  He asked how the postsecondary president/provost representative will be identified for the Steering Committee.  Dr. Cain said that the provost would actually identify the person.  Senator Kelly asked if every institution would have a representative.  Dr. Cain said that the provost group for the public institutions would name the representative.  Senator Kelly said he believes it is important that the Secretary or designee for the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet also attend EAARS meetings to keep legislators fully informed of their participation in the process.  Senator Kelly asked if discussion has occurred regarding a new accountability system which may be needed when the new standards and assessments have been developed.  Mr. Draut informed Senator Kelly that the information in their meeting folders entitled “Senate Bill 1 Summary of Completed Work as of June 4, 2009” relates to the assessment work required as a result of the legislation and the document entitled “SB1 Timeline, Draft – Ongoing Updates” identifies the tasks and timelines that have established to accomplish Senate Bill 1 mandates including revision of the accountability system.  Mr. Draut said the Board of Education will need to develop a new accountability system for the long term model that starts in the Spring of 2012.  Senator Kelly said the EAARS committee needs to be involved in any dialogue regarding the accountability system. 


Representative Stevens wanted to know who was responsible for naming the membership for the steering committee and why school teachers were not included on the committee.  Ms. Spugnardi responded that the steering committee will be a policy development group and that public school teachers will be deeply involved with the content workgroups in developing the standards. 


Senator Winters asked to what degree independent colleges and universities are represented on the steering committee.   Dr. Cain responded that the independent colleges and universities will have four representatives and KCTCS will also have four representatives.  Senator Winters asked for more information on the timeline for the Language Arts component.  Mr. Miller responded that the Senate Bill 1 timeline for the completion of the reading, writing, and language arts standards was December of 2010 but that deadline will probably be exceeded with the standards being ready as early as December 2009 or during the winter of 2010.  Senator Winters asked if a timeline has been established on when outside vendors will be contacted to develop the system when the standards are complete.  He also asked if the assessments would all be done at the same time or in waves as the standards are completed on each content area.  Ms. Spugnardi responded that was correct. 


Representative Moberly asked when the new mathematics test could be given with the new standards.  Mr. Draut responded it is anticipated that the new math assessment could be given in spring of 2011, if the timeline for development of the new standards has been met and then consideration would need to be given about the revised accountability index.  He said funding will also need to be identified before a vendor can be selected to develop the assessments.  Representative Moberly said he would like to see the process completed as quickly as possible but not for accountability purposes until the appropriate professional development has been completed.


Senator Westwood said that Senate Bill 1 not only addressed accountability for K-12 but also for postsecondary institutions and asked if the model presented addresses that concern.  Dr. King said he did not think there was any language in Senate Bill 1 that particularly directs accountability for postsecondary institutions but CPE is very interested in making sure that postsecondary institutions can demonstrate a level of accountability to the public, its students, and the legislature focused around graduation and retention rates.  He said a number of states are considering funding models related to outcomes and CPE is following those discussions.  He said that CPE will be working with public institutions in developing a budgeting, funding and tuition model tied to outcomes and he would keep the legislature informed.  Senator Westwood said it is crucial that every institution participate in education accountability.  Dr. King related that data from May graduations showed that the number of doctorate, master and associate degrees increased by double digits over the previous  year and bachelor degrees increased by 7%.


Representative Moberly said Senate Bill 1 contained goals on reducing the remediation rate and increasing the graduation rate of students in one or more remedial classes and if those goals are not met, the legislature will be asking questions as to why those goals were not met. 


Senator Westwood asked Ms. Marcia Seiler, Director of the Office of Education Accountability (OEA), and Dr. Ken Chilton, OEA Director of Research, to present the information on the Kentucky District Data Profiles.


Committee members were provided a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and a draft copy of the Kentucky District Data Profiles: School Year 2007-2008.


Prior to discussing the District Data Profiles, at the request of Senator Westwood, Ms. Seiler updated the committee on her staff, Mr. Doug Terry, who recently survived a traumatic automobile accident because of “Good Samaritan” assistance and is now in rehabilitation at his residence.


Ms. Seiler said the District Data Profiles in 2008 is a comprehensive report of all types of education data by school district.  She said they would provide each legislator with a final copy and district personnel could call OEA or obtain the report online.


Dr. Chilton said the purpose of the report is to provide an easy access to commonly used education data by district and can be used for comparative purposes.  He said the report contains a data dictionary which contains definitions and sources of all the variables used in the report. He said the profiles on each district are provided in alphabetically order followed by a profile for the entire state with data on staffing, finance, and performance and the report also contains a section of overview and trends.  He said changes in the 2009 edition from the first published report in 2008 is that current expenditures is based on the National Center for Education Statistics definition giving a little more balance and accurate depiction of expenditures by which captures Pre-K-12 spending including payments for benefits, such as health insurance, retirement, and vocational education, but excludes capital outlays, equipment, construction, equipment replacement, debt service, adult education and other community type programs.  He said the report also includes ACT results of 11th grade students because of SB 130.  Dr. Chilton said the report is self explanatory and he briefly explained the various sections and explained that the data dictionary also helps the reader in understanding what is included in each category.  He said the District Data Profile complements the OEA Compendium of Education Statistics and the profile is updated annually to reflect new legislation.


Dr. Chilton updated the committee on upcoming OEA reports which will include the third annual compendium of state education rankings, are half way through the mathematics study and are also working on the leadership training study.


Senator Westwood asked what formula was used to define dropout rates.  Ms. Seiler said that the definition for dropout is included in the data dictionary and is the same definition KDE uses.  Dr. Chilton added that it is inclusive of a single group of students tracked from Grades 9 through 12. 


Representative Farmer said since the document is very large he wanted to know if it could be accessed online stating that he received several request when the document was published last year.  Ms. Seiler said it is online.  The web link is OEA’s published studies.  She said if a legislator received a request for a hard copy, her office may be contacted or emailed and they will provide a copy.  She also said they would provide a printout of the profiles for each school district in each legislator’s respective district prior to the beginning of next session.


Senator Westwood thanked Representative Moberly for his leadership as co-chair of the EAARS committee over the years.


Senator Winters made a motion that the meeting adjourn and Representative Stevens seconded the motion.  By voice vote, the meeting adjourned at 2:30 PM.