The meeting of the Education Assessment and Accountability Review Subcommittee was held on Monday, January 11, 2010, at 1:30 PM, in Room 131 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Kent Stevens, Co-Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.
Guests: John Stroube and Tanya Bromley, Kentucky Music Education Association; Andrea Plummer, Kentucky Youth Advocates; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; and Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.
LRC Staff: Sandy Deaton, Audrey Carr, Janet Stevens, Jesse Payne, and Lisa Moore.
Chairman Stevens welcomed the new members of the National Technical Advisory Panel on Assessment and Accountability (NTAPAA). Each member introduced themselves and provided members with information about their backgrounds and areas of interest in the field of assessment and accountability. The new members are: Dr. Ronald K. Hambleton, University of Massachusetts; Dr. Daniel Koretz, Harvard Graduate School of Education; Dr. Robert Linn, University of Colorado; Mr. Jeffrey Nellhaus, Massachusetts Department of Elementary & Secondary Education; Dr. Doris L. Redfield, Edvantia; and Dr. Pat Roschewski, Nebraska Department of Education. There were no questions for the NTAPAA panel from the committee members. Representative Stevens said he is looking forward to working with the panel in the future.
Chairman Stevens asked for a motion to approve the meeting minutes from the December 9, 2009, meeting. Senator Winters made the motion to accept the minutes and Representative Farmer seconded the motion. The minutes were approved by voice vote.
Chairman Stevens introduced Dr. Terry Holliday, Commissioner of Education, Kentucky Department of Education (KDE); Mr. Robert King, President, and Dr. Aaron Thompson, Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs, Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE), to provide a joint presentation on the status report on the implementation of Senate Bill 1.
Dr. Holliday said most deadlines have been met within the Senate Bill 1 guidelines. However, the standards for math that were due in December 2009 will be presented February 10, 2010, in coordination with the joint meeting of the CPE, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB), and the State Board of Education. He noted the delay was attributed more to the common course standards work being conducted at the national level.
Dr. Holliday noted the four major components in Senate Bill 1 were the revised content standards; the new assessment and accountability system; intensive professional development; and college and career readiness initiatives. He said the revision of the content standards has been a collaborative process between KDE, CPE, & EPSB including K-12 teachers, administrators, Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and university faculty, and business and industry representatives. He said Kentucky is the first state to provide feedback to the National Governor’s Association and the chief state school officers, and is poised to be the first state to adopt common course standards. Dr. Thompson said he is very pleased with the participation of both private and public college faculty.
Dr. Holliday said the common core standards work has revolved around English, language arts, and mathematics. He said Kentucky is still working on the revision to the content standards in science, social studies, and all the program reviews in arts and humanities, writing, and practical living and career studies. He said all content standards will be revised by December 2010, and this will satisfy the timeline as required in Senate Bill 1.
Dr. Holliday said there is an interim accountability system in place. He discussed the implementation of a balanced assessment system including formative, interim, and summative assessments. He also said end-of-course assessments are being developed and some high schools are using them.
Dr. Holliday said the KDE and CPE are developing a unified strategy to reduce college remediation rates by at least 50 percent by 2014 in comparison to the 2010 rate. They also want to increase the college completion rates of students enrolled in one or more remedial classes by 3 percent annually from 2009 to 2014. He said the plan is due no later than May 15, 2010. Mr. King said some technical language needs to be changed in the statute but he said CPE is poised to address issues of significantly improving the graduation rates of students who enroll in Kentucky colleges and universities that are in need of remediation. Dr. Thompson said there are workgroups gathering together from colleges across the state, along with staff from K-12, to help meet the target percentage that is determined for improving the graduation rates. Dr. Holliday said there are three unified strategies to promote college and career readiness offered through KDE, CPE, and EPSB. They include accelerated learning opportunities, secondary and postsecondary interventions, and advising and mentoring programs. Dr. Thompson said many of the pilot studies that are in place are showing positive results at levels higher than originally anticipated, and they want to keep moving in these directions.
Dr. Holliday said intense professional development is a crucial piece of Senate Bill 1. He said KDE, CPE, and EPSB provide trainings for key audiences in new standards, assessments, and program reviews. He said evaluations of teachers should be formative in nature to provide them the feedback they need to build school-level and district capacity. He said a comprehensive program of professional development will be offered through professional learning teams with an excellent on-line instructional and professional development tool. Dr. King said CPE is deeply committed to the notion that high-quality, effective professional development has to be a part of this effort. He noted Ms. Elaine Farris, former interim commissioner of education, said that the Kentucky Education Reform Act may have been more successful had professional development been more intensive 20 years ago. Dr. Holliday said the statewide professional development roll-out related to Senate Bill 1 and the Race to the Top grant application will be provided locally working alongside education cooperatives, universities, P-16 councils and other partners in collaboration with districts and schools. He would like the work to happen regionally and to involve classroom teachers in the professional development within the actual context of developing classroom language around the standards and formative assessments. Content networks will be guiding district leadership teams through the process of deconstructing standards. He noted district leadership teams facilitate the process with local school leadership teams and professional learning teams. The focus is on changing practices at the classroom level and the primary goal is for the content and examples of work from these networks to be used to populate the continuous instructional improvement software tool. He noted the software tool is one of the core fundamentals in the Race to the Top grant application. Dr. Thompson said CPE wants the universities to develop a partnership with K-12 that would build a mass capacity support system reciprocal in nature.
Dr. Holliday updated the committee on key timeline dates for Senate Bill 1 and Race to the Top activities. He said KDE anticipates that the following funding would be required to implement Senate Bill 1 requirements relating to assessment, content standards development, professional development and college/career readiness with maximum efficiency. He said the assessment standards and accountability costs for fiscal year 2011 are estimated at $5,000,000 and $6,630,800 for fiscal year 2012. The estimated cost for the content standards developments, program review, and professional development is $1,865,400 for fiscal year 2011 and $1,965,000 for fiscal year 2012. He said that KDE is working with a consortia of states to try and obtain $350 million to cover the cost of the revision of the content standards in the areas of English, language arts, and mathematics. The money will not cover the cost of revising social studies and science and the KDE will not know the status of the funding until June 2010. Dr. Holliday is expecting a cost between $3 and $5 million to do the content standards work in social studies and science and the program review areas. Dr. King said CPE anticipates that the assessment standards and accountability costs for fiscal year 2011 will be $1,550,000 and $200,000 for fiscal year 2012. He is estimating the professional development cost of postsecondary faculty being $3,130,000 in fiscal year 2011 and $1,630,000 in fiscal year 2012. He said the college and career readiness costs are estimated at $7,560,000 in fiscal year 2011 and $7,560,000 in fiscal year 2012. He said the CPE has requested additional funding from the steering committee and the Governor’s office to implement Senate Bill 1.
Senator McGaha thanked the CPE and KDE for their collaborative presentation. He asked Dr. Holliday about the remake of the regional service centers and if there would be dedicated sites for a center. Dr. Holliday said KDE would be submitting a Request for Proposal (RFP) for dedicated sites if Race to the Top funds are received, but would require collaboration in the response to the call for proposals to show how they are utilizing higher education, teacher organizations, and school board organization. He said a center could be located on the site of a regional cooperative if it was very strong in instructional work, or it could be a P-16 council. It would also require a regional collaboration to leverage the resources that already exist and partnership with the universities. He said KDE would dedicate existing KDE staff on a regional level and there are some dollars in the Race to the Top application dedicated to ensuring there are enough KDE staff to address the roll-out of standards, the software system, formative assessment training, the statewide longitudinal data system to ensure teachers can utilize the system appropriately, and staff to assist with the turnaround of low-performing schools. Senator McGaha clarified that the RFP was for management of the centers and Dr. Holliday said that was correct. Senator McGaha asked how many regions would be identified. Dr. Holliday said eight regions, plus Jefferson County, for a total of nine. He said there will be two to four staff members per region depending on the size. Senator McGaha asked if KDE staff will be placed in the regions if the Race to the Top dollars are not awarded to Kentucky. Dr. Holliday said staff would be placed in the regions regardless to ensure the work is meeting the requirements authorized by Senate Bill 1.
Senator McGaha asked President King about meeting with the education committee co-chairs to clarify the issues surrounding the graduation rate language in Senate Bill 1. Ms. Sue Cain, College Readiness and Development Coordinator, CPE, said that the current language in the statute says that related to the number of students who graduate, or who are retained and earn a degree, will be three percent annually. She said this figure is based upon a percentage, and could fluctuate between 3.2 and 6.4 percent increases in college completion rates between now and 2014. Ms. Cain said after speaking with representatives on the steering committee, it was communicated that this was not the intent of the legislation. She said the CPE will continue dialogue with legislators to determine how best to meet the intent of the legislation. She said the CPE is developing unified strategies that will lead Kentucky colleges to higher completion rates and will identify the matrix of measurement with legislators. President King said if Kentucky colleges and universities met the goals as defined in the current language, the General Assembly would be very disappointed in the outcome. He hopes to meet with Education Committee co-chairs in the near future to determine an agreed upon approach. Dr. Thompson said the conversation also needs to determine when the counting starts because the way it is currently stated, it is almost impossible because students will not have transitioned with any of the standards in K-12. He said there are two parts to the clarification of the statute: one is the percentage; and the other is when the assessment of the accountability measure starts.
Senator Winters discussed the timeline of the legislation and said it needs to be adjusted to be more realistic, but at the same time, he does not want the standards softened or altered. He asked Dr. Holliday about the participation of the state chief school officers and the members of the National Governor’s Association completing the revision of the content standards on a national basis in 2010. Dr. Holliday responded that there is no definitive timeline on social studies, but he is hoping that the group will begin the revision of the standards in science in the summer of 2010. Senator Winters said the National Governor’s Association had promised that the revision of all the content standards in all subjects would be completed in 2010, and he is disappointed that the original timeline is not going to be met. He said this will lose momentum toward creating a national standard as timelines are changed and not met.
Senator Winters asked about the development of a common assessment from the state chief school officers and the members of the National Governor’s Association. Dr. Holliday specified that the Race to the Top dollars can only be used for formative assessment development and cannot be used to develop summative, end-of-course, or high school exit exams. He said a consortia of five states is competing for $350 million that the United States Secretary of Education has set aside for competitive purposes and this money could be used for the development of those assessments. He mentioned working collaboratively with Mark Tucker on the possibility of developing a broad examination that could be used as end-of-course assessments in high school and compliments the ACT nicely. He said the consortia of states will come together after the process of the Race to the Top application is completed, which will most likely be in February or March of 2010. At that time, final guidelines will need to be discussed and proposals submitted to get access to the $350 million. He is anticipating a summative assessment that at least 20-30 states would sign on for grades three through eight in math and language arts. It is not anticipated to get end-of-course exams that a number of states would sign off on unless Mark Tucker’s work is utilized. This is the only one that Dr. Holliday knows is working on end-of-course types of assessments for the high school level. He noted the Kentucky Board of Education and teachers want Kentucky to move toward student accountability utilizing end-of-course assessments. The federal government will award the grants for the summative assessments between March and early June of 2010. Dr. Holliday said that 30 states will have to agree on what a summative assessment tied to common course standards will look like in order to get the test ready for the 2011-2012 school year. Senator Winters said he will look forward to future updates.
Chairman Stevens asked Dr. Ken Draut, Associate Commissioner, KDE, to explain administration regulation 703 KAR 5:060. He noted there was a summary of the administrative regulation and a letter from of the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) concerning the regulation in the members’ folders. He said the actual regulation was not in members’ folders because it has not actually been filed with the Legislative Research Commission. Dr. Draut said the regulation is an interim regulation and covers the 2009-2010 and 2010-2011 school years. At the end of that time, KDE will write a regulation that covers all the new assessments and accountability for the long-term model. He said the reason for bringing the regulation forth was to replace indices from the Commonwealth Assessment and Accountability System (CATS) that were eliminated after the passage of Senate Bill 1, enacted from the 2009 Kentucky General Assembly. He briefly explained the six sections of the regulation. They were: 1) Student assessments lists the state-required assessments (Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT), Norm-Referenced Test, and Readiness assessments) and establishes a KCCT test window with a six-day schedule; 2) Data collection supports the statutory requirements for nonacademic data collection and establishes a transition process for graduation rates that moves Kentucky to using the federally-required cohort model. This change will increase attention on graduation rates by reporting rates for all students and for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) students groups. The first impact to NCLB reporting will occur in 2010-2011; 3) Reporting establishes new measures for NCLB reporting for other academic indicator (elementary and middle) and safe harbor and creates a data review period for NCLB reports. The other academic indicator would use social studies, science and writing-on-demand scores for elementary and middle schools; 4) Schools not conforming to standard grade configuration establishes waiver requests; 5) Schools having more than one level describes how an aggregated average of data for the school is used in NCLB reporting. He said sections four and five remove references to state accountability; and 6) Assistance describes a continuum of service to provide supports for Non-Title I and Title I schools not meeting NCLB goals. Assistance is based on an intervention matrix. Dr. Draut said KDE will come back and explain the details of the administrative regulation at the appropriate time.
Chairman Stevens introduced Ms. Marcia Seiler, Director, (OEA), to make comments and introduce OEA staff to explain two reports. Dr. Ken Chilton, Director of Research, and Dr. Keith White, Research Analyst, OEA, explained the OEA report “Leadership Training for Superintendents, Board Members, Principals, and School-Based Decision Making Councils.” Dr. Chilton said the presentation overview would focus on leadership duties and responsibilities, training requirements, monitoring training, and survey results.
Dr. Chilton reviewed the prerequisites for each education leadership position. Superintendents, principals, and teachers require certifications, board members must have a high school diploma or its equivalent, and school-based decision making council members must have a child enrolled in school. He also discussed general duties of each position.
Dr. Chilton said the number of annual training hours for superintendents and principals is greater than for board and council members. Superintendents are required to receive 42 hours of training over a 24 month period or the equivalent of 21 hours as part of an individual growth plan annually. Principals must complete 21 hours of leadership training per year. The requirements for board and council members vary by the individuals’ level of experience. Board members with 3 years or less of experience must complete 12 hours of annual training, while members with 4-7 years complete 8 hours of annual training and members with 8 or more years of experience must complete 4 hours of annual training. New school-based decision making council members are expected to complete 6 hours of annual training and all members with more than 1 year of experience have to complete 3 hours of annual training. Failure to complete mandated training can lead to the loss of a superintendent’s or principal’s certificate. Similarly, board members can be removed from their leadership position for failure to attend training. He said there is no statute or regulation setting out discipline for failure of a council member to receive training. He said data in 2008 showed 11 board members not receiving their training, but they were all granted extensions due to extenuating circumstances. There were no superintendents, board members, or principals who lost their certificates due to not completing the required training. There were 234 school-based decision making council members not receiving training in 2008.
Dr. Chilton said districts are required to submit training records for compliance purposes. The OEA is recommending that the KDE should review those records and enforce KRS 160.345(6) by taking appropriate action toward those school-based decision making council members who do not receive training.
Dr. White discussed the four different surveys that were developed and administered to superintendents, school board members, principals, and school-based decision making council members. The surveys were designed to elicit input on the perceived value of leadership training in preparing leaders to perform their statutory duties. The survey questions were developed to highlight the statutory duties of each leadership group.
Dr. White said in all cases, survey respondents reported high levels of satisfaction with the appropriateness of the training. Over 70 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that mandated training prepared them to perform their duties. There was considerable overlap and agreement between superintendents and boards and between principals and councils.
Dr. White said despite the overall high levels of satisfaction reported with the training, some subjects that are critical to improving student achievement were considered less satisfactory than others. For example, superintendents and board members reported lower levels of agreement on their preparedness to develop curriculum, analyze and interpret assessment data, and address achievement gaps. For principals and council members, the lowest levels of preparedness were reported for selecting text books and instructional materials, planning professional development, and determining the number of persons to be employed in each job classification.
Dr. White said in the course of administering the surveys, OEA staff experienced varying degrees of difficulty communicating with some education leaders, especially school-based decision making council members. He said databases of these school leaders are not maintained or updated annually. Therefore, the OEA recommends that KDE shall develop and maintain an up-to-date directory, including e-mail addresses, of all superintendents, school board members, school principals, and school-based decision making council members to facilitate better communication between district and school leadership.
Dr. White said the surveys asked if appointed leaders, superintendents and principals, differed from board and council members in reported levels of knowledge. Overall, 85 percent of school board members and school-based decision making council members consider themselves knowledgeable about duty-related topics. Yet, 54 percent of school principals indicated that their school-based decision making council had high or very high knowledge levels regarding duties and 60 percent of superintendents responded that their school board had high or very high duty-related knowledge levels.
Dr. White said the topics in which school board members reported having the least amount of knowledge were developing curriculum standards (73 percent indicated having knowledge), assessment data analysis and interpretation (78 percent), and addressing achievement gaps (78 percent). These areas are all inter-related. He noted developing curriculum to overcome achievement gaps is dependent upon the ability to analyze and interpret student assessment data.
Dr. White discussed the collaborative participation of leaders and trainings. He said over 90 percent of survey respondents indicated that learning from other leaders was a key contributor to their feelings of preparedness and knowledge levels. He said leadership initiatives include the Kentucky Cohesive Leadership System, the Education Professional Standards Board (EPSB) Master of Arts – Teacher as Leader, and the Principal training redesign. The OEA recommends that the EPSB shall develop a rigorous evaluation framework to measure the impact of the Principal Training Redesign prior to July 30, 2011.
Dr. White said school leadership is linked to student achievement in education research. However, the relationship between leadership survey responses and student performance indicators in Kentucky is weak. He said in theory, school leaders’ responses indicating high levels of preparedness, collaborative training, and higher knowledge levels would be expected to yield high student performance scores. An examination of the relationship between the Kentucky Core Content Test performance and preparedness found no statistically significant relationship between high levels of leadership capacity and Kentucky Core Content Test performance.
Dr. White said in conclusion that statutory requirements are being met. Survey respondents credit training for positively impacting their duty-relating preparedness. He said most survey respondents consider training requirements to be appropriate. He also said collaborative training effects were present and there were no linkages between levels of leader preparation and academic performance.
Senator Westwood thanked the OEA staff for their hard work on the report. He asked what training teachers and school-based decision making council members receive to prepare them to make the selection of textbooks. Dr. Chilton said teachers and principals rely on their previous education training and experiences, while the parents are dependent upon the training they receive for being new school-based decision making council members. He said there is no additional training required of parents in the statute, but they could serve with other education members on textbook selection committees. Senator Westwood said he thinks more training should be required for the people making the selections of textbooks as this is critical to a student’s educational experience. Ms. Seiler said the professional development section within Senate Bill 1 addresses the preparation of teachers for the selection of curriculum and textbooks. She said she will notify the KDE of his concern.
Chairman Stevens asked about the experience levels of teachers and the educational background of parents serving on the school-based decision making councils. Dr. Chilton said he would analyze the data and get a report to Chairman Stevens.
Chairman Stevens introduced Ms. Brenda Landy, Research Analyst, OEA, to present the report “Compendium of State Education Rankings 2009.” Ms. Landy said this is the third annual compendium of state rankings it is intended as a convenient reference tool regarding how Kentucky’s education indicators compare to the nation, Southern Regional Education Board states, and other states that border Kentucky. While rankings are based on all states and the District of Columbia, the tables in the members’ meeting materials focus on peer states only.
Ms. Landy said Kentucky’s student poverty rate continues to be above the national rate. Kentucky has one of the highest rates of students enrolled in rural schools, which have unique advantages and disadvantages. She said although the number of Hispanic students has been increasing in Kentucky, it is still a smaller minority student population than most states.
Ms. Landy said given Kentucky’s small Hispanic population, few students have limited English proficiency. However, the number of students with socioeconomic disadvantages are reflected in high rates of subsidized lunches and Title I funds. Kentucky also has a relatively high rate of students with disabilities.
Ms. Landy said even after adjusting for geographic cost differences, Kentucky is among the bottom 10 states when ranked by revenues and current spending per pupil; however, unlike most states, Kentucky does not include school activity funds when reporting revenues and expenditures. She said that the teacher salaries rank has risen. As the share of Kentucky’s’ revenues from local sources gradually increases, the high share of revenues from state funds is slipping. She noted the proportion of spending dedicated to instruction mirrors the nation.
Ms. Landy said Kentucky’s drop in rank with respect to the student-teacher ratio is good news because it suggests that students have more opportunities for individual attention. She said high numbers of instructional aides per student are likely due to high preschool enrollment and disability rates. High numbers of administrators likely reflect Kentucky’s small rural schools and districts.
Ms. Landy said because Kentucky’s average fourth grade National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math score increased faster than in other states, its ranking jumped from 39th in 2003 to 29th in 2009. On the other hand, Kentucky’s average 8th grade NAEP math score increased at about the same rate as the national average, leaving its ranking the same. She said Kentucky’s rankings improved dramatically with respect to its graduation rate and the percentage of students attempting and passing Advanced Placement exams. She noted as all students now take the ACT, Kentucky’s participation rank jumped from 13th in 2008 to a tie for 1st with Michigan and Colorado in 2009. She said now that examinees include those who are not college-bound, Kentucky scores are lower, but this is not unexpected. She said Kentucky’s rank with respect to the average composite score dropped from 25th in 2008 to 49th in 2009.
Due to the lack of a quorum, the reports were not formally adopted. With no further business before the committee, the meeting adjourned at 3:25 p.m.