Interim Joint Committee on Education

 

Minutes of the<MeetNo1> 1st Meeting

of the 2011 Interim

 

<MeetMDY1> June 13, 2011

 

Call to Order and Roll Call

The<MeetNo2> first meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Education was held on<Day> Monday,<MeetMDY2> June 13, 2011, at<MeetTime> 1:00 PM, in<Room> Room 149 of the Capitol Annex. Representative Carl Rollins II, Chair, called the meeting to order, and the secretary called the roll.

 

Present were:

 

Members:<Members> Senator Ken Winters, Co-Chair; Representative Carl Rollins II, Co-Chair; Senators Walter Blevins Jr., Jared Carpenter, David Givens, Denise Harper Angel, Jimmy Higdon, Alice Forgy Kerr, Vernie McGaha, Gerald A. Neal, R.J. Palmer II, Johnny Ray Turner, Jack Westwood, and Mike Wilson; Representatives Linda Belcher, John "Bam" Carney, Leslie Combs, Jim DeCesare, Ted Edmonds, C. B. Embry Jr., Bill Farmer, Kelly Flood, Jim Glenn, Derrick Graham, Donna Mayfield, Reginald Meeks, Charles Miller, Rick G. Nelson, Ruth Ann Palumbo, Marie Rader, Jody Richards, Tom Riner, Rita Smart, Wilson Stone, Ben Waide, Alecia Webb-Edgington, Addia Wuchner, and Jill York.

 

Guests: Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, Kentucky Department of Education; LeaAnn Atherton, Teacher, Carlisle County Schools; Tanya Bromley, Kentucky Music Educators Association; Julian Tackett, President, Kentucky High School Athletic Association; Wayne Young, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Clyde Caudill, Kentucky Association of School Administrators; Jim Thompson, Education and Workforce Development Cabinet; Cindy Heine, Prichard Committee; and Sharon Steele, Education Delivery Institute, Washington, D.C.

 

LRC Staff: Ken Warlick, Sandy Deaton, Janet Stevens, Janet Oliver, and CJ Ryan.

 

Teacher Effectiveness and Evaluation

Terry Holliday, Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), said that revising the procedures to evaluate teachers and other educational leaders to more accurately reflect their professional growth and effectiveness has been a controversial issue in Kentucky and nationwide. Teachers, administrators, and other affected stakeholders have been involved in developing the new process in Kentucky.

 

Larry Stinson, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Schools and Districts, KDE, said that two separate steering committees were established to provide guidance to KDE on the design, development, and implementation of a teacher and a principal professional growth and evaluation system. The Kentucky Board of Education is also monitoring the process and providing input as the systems are developed. The first phases included defining effective teachers and leaders; developing methods to measure effectiveness; and implementing processes to support all educators in refining the knowledge, skills and behaviors that support effective practice. The new system will use rubrics with multiple measures and descriptors that can be validated and used to establish a system of continuing improvement of skills and professional growth throughout the educatorís career. The evaluation systems will be standard throughout all districts. Mr. Stinson said the steering committees are receiving assistance from Edvantia design teams and other education experts in teacher and principal effectiveness. KDE representatives have provided input but not governed the process.

 

Ramona Davis, Principal, Corbin Middle School, said development of the principal rubric has been a collaborative effort, with many principals and educators providing input, to create a new and effective tool to evaluate principal effectiveness.

 

LeaAnn Atherton, a teacher at Carlisle County Schools and member of the teacher steering committee, said she believes the new teacher evaluation system will be an effective tool in measuring teacher performance in the classroom. It will also help postsecondary students preparing for a career in the teaching profession to know what will be expected of them and make it easier to transition from college into the profession.

 

Mr. Stinson said that the evaluation systems were field tested in 25 districts during the past year and up to 50 districts will field test them in the upcoming school year. The plan is to fully implement the evaluation systems in the fall of 2013. Validation of the rubrics is a critical part of the process since teacher and principal effectiveness will be measured and future employment decisions and other high stakes conclusions may be affected by evaluation results.

 

Mr. Stinson said Kentucky was one of 30 states invited by the Council of Chief State School Officers to participate in a State Consortium on Educator Effectiveness (SCEE) to eliminate duplicative efforts and share ideas to improve the effectiveness of the nationís educators. He said SCEE hosted a National Summit on Educator Effectiveness in April to share promising practices and ideas and that Representative Rollins was the only state legislator who attended the conference. Kentuckyís progress in development of the new evaluation systems and updates on various other topics related to educator effectives are available on the KDE Website. Mr. Stinson said that a statewide survey identified as TELL Kentucky was recently conducted with approximately 80 percent of Kentucky educators responding. The results of the survey are available at http://www.tellkentucky.org/reports.

 

In response to a question from Representative Waide, Ms. Atherton said teacher effectiveness will be measured by: how well the teacher plans instruction; more frequent principal observations; teacher documentation, such as artifacts and student work; and instruction creativity. Mr. Stinson said principal observation, professional growth activities, peer coaching, student learning outcomes, and other aspects will all be used in measuring effectiveness. The weight given to each component will be completed in the next phase of developing the systems. Representative Rollins said the evaluation systems are being revised to improve the performance of teachers through feedback and professional development with the ultimate goal of improving student performance through effective teaching methods.

 

In response to a question from Representative Waide about which student assessments will be used to measure teacher effectiveness since myriad testing instruments are used and vary from district to district, Commissioner Holliday said that 2009 Senate Bill 1 mandates that tests be administered in math, language arts, social studies, science, and writing and other subject areas, such as arts and humanities, be assessed through program reviews. Local school districts will still have the option of administering other formative-type assessments.

In response to questions from Representative Belcher, Ms. Davis said the new evaluation systems are not intended to be burdensome but a routine way to identify where professional development is needed and how to improve student achievement through various parameters set forth in the rubrics. Commissioner Holliday said that KDE created a desktop application during its Race to the Top application that would assist teachers and principals in collecting data that can be used in evaluations. He said even though Kentucky was not successful in the Race to the Top funding, KDE has continued to apply for grants and a major grant will be announced in the next few days that will be used to improve student performance.

 

Representatives Carney and Rollins expressed concern with the use of peer review. Commissioner Holliday said peer observations will only be used for formative feedback and not as an evaluation criterion.

 

In response to questions from Senator Givens, Commissioner Holliday said that the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act contains a definition for highly qualified teachers. Many of the 175 districts in Kentucky currently have different criteria for measuring effectiveness and 98 percent of teachers in Kentucky have been meeting the standards that currently exist, although survey results showed that many tenured and non-tenured teachers reported receiving minimal or no feedback on improving performance. Commissioner Holliday reiterated that during the next phase of development, weighting will be assigned to various components of the rubrics. When the statewide evaluation system is ready to be implemented, the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) will approve regulatory changes and the regulation will be promulgated through normal procedure. Commissioner Holliday said individual teacher data will not be made public.

 

In response to an inquiry from Representative Webb-Edgington on how schools were selected to pilot the systems, Mr. Stinson said pilot districts were selected based on geographic location and student population with both county and independent districts participating. Commissioner Holliday added that some of the districts had persistently low achieving schools and additional districts will pilot the systems in the upcoming year.

 

Representative Rollins asked how content knowledge will be evaluated. Ms. Atherton responded that some of the detailed bullets in the rubric relate to how the teacher displays content knowledge and it will also be evident in some of the artifacts that the teacher is collecting. She said one of the most difficult portions of the criteria to word was how to show the craft of the teacher insofar as relationships with students and how content is taught.

 

In response to a question from Senator Wilson, Commissioner Holliday said a teacherís growth plan will be based on annual self-assessments. Student academic achievement results or low performance on any of the indicators in the rubric would activate a more holistic, independent evaluation of the teacher.

 

Commissioner Holliday, in responding to questions from Senator Neal, said that additional information will be provided in the future about the weights given to each component of the rubric. He said that in the Race to the Top application, 50 percent of teacher effectiveness was to be connected to student results on state standardized tests. Kentuckyís model will use overall student growth rather than just the percent of students scoring proficient, to accommodate other factors such as students requiring special education. Commissioner Holliday said he anticipates final weighting for student growth to be in the 25-50 percent range.

 

Program Review Update

Ms. Felicia Cummings Smith, Associate Commissioner, Office of Next Generation Learners, said the program reviews outlined in 2009 Senate Bill 1 provide a systematic way for assessing instruction in arts and humanities, practical living and career studies, and writing to ensure quality programs are in place. A rubric is being developed to set forth expectations and only paper-pencil assessments will be used in these areas to test student knowledge. Affected stakeholders have been involved in the process including representatives from various associations, such as the Kentucky Music Educators Association. Performance levels will include needs improvement, proficient exemplary, or distinguished.

 

Ms. Smith said a document will soon be released that provides stronger guidance to ensure that program reviews are conducted school-wide so other teachers will be intimately involved in the process of evaluating and self-reporting on those areas. The rubric was piloted in the 2009-2010 school year in volunteer districts; a mandatory field test will be done in the 2011-2012 school year; and full implementation with reporting for accountability will occur in the 2012-2013 school year.

 

Representative Rollins said there was no intent in 2009 Senate Bill 1 to weaken or place less emphasis on areas to be assessed with program reviews, but only that they be evaluated using a different format. Ms. Smith said she is fully confident that the rigor of the subject areas will be addressed in the new design and evaluation process.

 

In response to a question from Senator Winters, Ms. Smith said that guidance to the districts is that teachers of program review areas be deeply involved in the development of all processes and included in all communications regarding professional development. Commissioner Holliday said 70 percent of all teachers are in program review areas and student proficiency cannot be achieved unless minimum regulatory requirements are met. He said school councils will be held accountable if staffing decisions are made that do not allow students to reach proficiency in program review areas which will be included in the school accountability rating.

 

Representative Graham said recently a decision was made by the Franklin County High School council to eliminate the band director position but the situation has been resolved, after much public outcry, to retain the position. He encouraged the department to review decisions being made by the local school councils. He said he plans to introduce legislation in the next session that would require parent representatives on a council to be a local taxpayer of the district. Commissioner Holliday said the TELL Kentucky survey included questions about school councils and many responses were received. He said that statutes relating to school councils also affect what percentage end-of-course assessment results will be included in a studentís final grade. Some of the school councils have already indicated they want to continue using open response questions although an instrument will not be available to validate the answers to those questions in subject areas using end-of-course assessments.

 

Representative Rollins said he would like any school council legislation to include language that only teachers with tenure can serve on councils.

 

Assessment Update

Ms. Rhonda Sims, Director of the Division of Support and Research, KDE Office of Assessment and Accountability, provided an update on assessments. She said Grades 3-8 will be assessed using a blended model of criterion referenced test (CRT) items based on Kentucky standards and norm referenced test (NRT) items based on national comparative standards. The new assessment program will be called the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP). Senate Bill 1 requires on-demand writing be measured twice at the high school level and editing and mechanics measured once at the high school level. Grades 3-8 assessments and the writing assessments are being developed by NCS Pearson, which is a major vendor that has contracts in 25 states and does work for the US Department of Education. Grades 3-8 content areas to be assessed are reading, writing, mathematics, science and social studies. The NRT portion will be the Stanford Achievement Series (Stanford 10). The test formats will consist of multiple choice with some constructed response. The on- demand writing assessment will use passage-based and situational prompts. K-PREP must be administered in the last fourteen instructional days of the districtís calendar and a district will use five days maximum to complete the testing in that period. Grades 3-8 will receive student and school reports. The reports will include national percentile rankings for NRT items and novice, apprentice, proficient, and distinguished student performance levels for the combination NRT and CRT items.

 

Jennifer Stafford, Policy Advisor, KDE Office of Assessment and Accountability, said the end-of-course (EOC) assessments will be administered in Grades 9-12. The assessments will be purchased from a nationally recognized company and results can be compared to other states. They are to be administered at the end of the course to allow for quick feedback to the student. The Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) recommends that school councilís use assessment results to account for a minimum of 20 percent of a studentís final grade, although each individual council has final authority. In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Commissioner Holliday said that a districtís board of education may require consistent grading across all its high schools, but it is ultimately a local council decision to determine what percentage the assessments will be of a studentís final grade.

 

Ms. Stafford said that ACT QualityCoreģ examinations will be used for English II, Algebra II, Biology, and U.S. History. ACT used empirical data from the highest performing high schools in the nation to develop the assessments and course syllabi. The studentís scores on those assessments will also be an indicator of how the student will score on the ACT. The assessments will consist of a combination of multiple choice and constructed response. The multiple choice portion will be available online or in paper-pencil format. If the multiple choice portion is completed online, it can be done in two 45 minute sessions or one 90 minute session. The constructed response questions will only be available in paper-pencil format. KDE staff is currently working with the districts to develop multiple testing windows based on the type of scheduling being used in the various districts. Online assessment scores are immediately available and results for paper-pencil assessments will be available within ten (10) days of receipt of the examination by ACT.

 

In response to a question from Representative Rollins, Ms. Stafford said ACT developed the assessments using data from schools throughout the country whose students scored highest on the ACT or were performing at a high level during the first year of college.

 

Representative Richards said that on-demand writing results will be meaningless if a student has not been instructed in proper techniques and grammar, which is an ongoing process. Commissioner Holliday said the core standards adopted by Kentucky integrate writing across all subjects and all teachers will receive professional development to assist them in teaching good writing techniques. Ms. Sims said the on-demand assessment of writing will be scored by a professional vendor and discussions have been initiated about coding information in the scoring process to provide feedback to the student and teachers on where improvement is needed.

 

In response to questions from Representative Graham, Ms. Sims said that the end-of-course assessments are to be administered very close to the end of instruction. It is anticipated that five windows will be available to correspond with various schedules, such as block or trimester scheduling, as well as a summer school window. Commissioner Holliday said the department will recommend that the end-of-course examinations replace other year-end examinations currently being used in some school districts and that content and rigor of the courses be standardized across Kentucky.

 

In response to a question from Representative Farmer, Commissioner Holliday said KDE has been canvassing all districts on technology and broadband availability and it appears most districts will have the necessary technology to do online assessments in the four high school subjects. Reporting of test scores for Grades 3-8 will take longer since testing will be done with the paper-pencil traditional assessments.

 

In response to a question from Senator Westwood on whether the National Technical Advisory Panel on Accessibility and Accountability (NTAPAA) provided input on the development of assessments, Ms. Sims said KDE has shared the plan with NTAPAA and she was not aware of any unresolved issues.

 

Representative Waide said teachers in his district have shared that everything being taught is driven by what is on the assessments and most teachers are no longer teaching cursive writing. He said he would like to ensure that cursive writing is a robust part of the writing curriculum. Commissioner Holliday said the department will gather information and report back on this issue.

 

In response to a question from Representative Wuchner, Commissioner Holliday said that the department will strongly encourage districts to plan remediation activities for students scoring low on assessments. He said the results from ACT and Plan assessments identify areas needing remediation and all high school seniors not meeting benchmarks are already receiving instruction to overcome their academic weaknesses.

 

Representative Carney said his district has performance-based education in which students often have opportunities to follow career pathways that do not require them to take all of the subjects to be tested with end-of-course examinations. Commissioner Holliday said more testing windows may be necessary for those districts.

 

Review of Executive Orders

Hiren Desai, Associate Commissioner, KDE, explained Executive Order 2011-351 relating to the reorganization of the department. The order changed the organizational structure by decreasing the number of associate commissioners from eight to seven. It also changed District 180 from a division to an office. The Office of District 180 works with faculty from the University of Louisville, Western Kentucky University, and Eastern Kentucky University to help districts with low performing schools improve performance. Mr. Desai said career and technical education has been merged into the Division of Program Standards to provide a more integrated approach to student learning. Commissioner Holliday said that, based on a recommendation of the Governorís Task Force on Transforming Education in Kentucky, a study group has been established that includes three senators, three representatives, and practitioners to develop recommendations for integrating academic and career and technical education and to ensure that teachers for both disciplines are treated fairly and equally.

 

Senator Winters said a representative will be at the July interim meeting to provide further information on the task force; in September, the committee will be touring a new careers pathway school in Scott County; and the task force report will be given at the November meeting. In response to a question from Senator Winters about the reorganization chart, Mr. Desai said that career and technical education is under Next Generation Learners headed by Associate Commissioner Felicia Cummings Smith.

 

Upon motion by Representative Palumbo, seconded by Senator Palmer, Executive Order 2011-351 relating to the reorganization of KDE was accepted by voice vote.

 

Ryan Green with the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet said Executive Order 2011-355 regarding the Kentucky Governorís Scholarís Program transfers oversight of the program for the Governorís Office to the Education and Workforce Development Program as directed in the 2010-12 biennial budget enacted by the General Assembly.

 

In response to a question from Representative Belcher, Mr. Green said $1.9 million in General Funds was appropriated for the scholarís program.

 

Upon motion by Representative Palumbo, seconded by Representative Richards, Executive Order 2011-355 relating to reorganization of the Governorís Scholarís Program was accepted by voice vote.

 

Mr. Ron Carson with the Council on Postsecondary Education said Executive Order 2011-356 directs that the Council report to the Governor through the office of the Secretary of the Cabinet instead of the Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

 

Upon motion by Representative Palumbo, seconded by Senator Winters, Executive Order 2011-356 was accepted by voice vote.

 

Commonwealth Diploma

Representative DeCesare said since Senate Bill 1 emphasized pursuit of a postsecondary education for all students, he was disappointed to learn that the Kentucky Board of Education has decided to eliminate the Commonwealth Diploma program. Commissioner Holliday said the Commonwealth Diploma was established in 1987 to promote advanced placement classes. The Board has directed the department to develop an improved model that not only focuses on advanced placement but other areas, such as performing arts. He said many universities did not give the Commonwealth Diploma any recognition and there was no scholarship money tied to it. Also, the $250,000 allocated for the program was not sufficient to reimburse all districts for expenditures related to the program. Representative DeCesare said even though no money was tied to the diploma, receiving it boosted student resume and self-esteem. Representative Stone said the department used an inopportune time to announce discontinuance of the Commonwealth Diploma when students were actually receiving them.

 

Senator Kerr commended the KDE staff who assisted Midway College instructors on how to communicate with students seeking degrees in the teaching profession. She also recommended that members and others visit the Khan Academy website to view its YouTube tutorial on teaching math and science.

 

Review of Administrative Regulation

††††††††††† Mr. Kevin Brown, General Counsel and Associate Commissioner, KDE; and Julian Tackett, Commissioner/CEO, and Chad Collins, General Counsel, Kentucky High School Athletic Association discussed the changes to 702 KAR 7:065 relating to the designation of agent to manage high school interscholastic athletics. Mr. Brown said that KHSAA is the departmentís agent for high school athletics and the regulatory changes reflect changes in KHSAAís bylaws. Mr. Tackett said the changes relate to the number of games that can be played in volleyball and basketball and incorporated legislative action relating to sports safety. He said scheduling changes for various sports may be necessary to accommodate the new academic testing schedule.

 

††††††††††† Adjournment

††††††††††† There being no further business to discuss, the meeting adjourned at 3:30 PM.