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Meeting Kentucky Standards Will Take More Than Tests

Kentucky’s goals and standards call for students to become skilled in communication, teamwork, problem-solving, scientific investigation, artistic performance, and civic participation. Kentucky’s tests do not match those ambitions. I rise today to argue that new, local, citizen-supported systems can move us forward on our full standards and expectations.

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Expanding Relevant Challenges in Louisville

OCTOBER 2018  \\\\\  MOORE MIDDLE/HIGH SCHOOL in LOUISVILLE EXPANDING RELEVANT CHALLENGES A school with 2,300 students might seem an unlikely place for individual voices to stand out. Still, 13-year-olds Abigail Pena Lopez and Jenny Tello Montejo feel encouraged as...

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An Absent-Minded Quest

I’ve been feeling somewhat like an adventurer on an epic quest in search of the answer to a question that, in my mind, should be fairly simple:

What is chronic absenteeism?
As part of the new accountability standards, I assumed that a functioning definition for the term MUST exist somewhere in the vast catalogues of information we now access on the Internet. After all, it was defined and utilized within the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) and as part of the Office of Education Accountability (OEA) report. Yet, the more I asked, the more the answer changed.

Surely, the definition must be somewhere.

Yet, as part of my journey, slaying the dragons of red tape and being the new “guy”, I was informed – much to this researcher’s chagrin – that a singular definition of chronic absenteeism does not exist. Though the many permutations of the discussion are similar, there are nuances. On my quest, I came across these similar (yet different) definitions:

Chronic absenteeism is typically defined as missing 10 percent or more of a school year — approximately 18 days a year, or just two days every month. (Obrien, 2013)

Students who are chronically absent—meaning they miss at least 15 days of school in a year—are at serious risk of falling behind in school. (U.S. Department of Education)

Chronic absenteeism measures attendance in a different way, combining excused, unexcused and disciplinary absences to get a complete picture of how much instructional time students are missing. (Jordan, Miller, 2017)

The criteria for chronic absenteeism varies, but generally students who miss 10 or more days of school or 10% or greater of the school year are considered chronically absent. (Carter, 2018)

Chronic absenteeism—or missing 10 percent or more of school days for any reason—is a proven early warning sign of academic risk and school dropout. (Bruner, Discher, Chang, 2011)

And of course, I asked Merriam-Webster:

1: prolonged absence of an owner from his or her property 2: chronic absence (as from work or school); also: the rate of such absence.

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Kentucky Academic Standards: A Flashcard Introduction

The Kentucky Academic Standards play a central role to Kentucky public education, specifying what we want students to know and be able to do at the end of each grade. Today, we’re sharing a new flashcard overview of those standards, complete with:

Examples
A definition, backed by explanations of how standards compare to curriculum and assessment
Notes on the main elements in Kentucky’s reading, writing, and mathematics standards
An explanation of how Kentucky Academic Standards are set and revised
We hope you find it helpful, and here’s a quick sample to encourage you to check out the complete flashcard deck.

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New Offering: A Quick Look At Each School’s 2018 Results

Kentucky’s new data files on student results can be a bit daunting, not least because assessment performance is shown in a Excel file with 187,846 rows of data. An innovative school dashboard, with much more accessible displays, is under construction but not available yet.

While we wait, we’d like to offer students, parents, and other citizens another way to begin their exploration. Our Quick Look reports offer a single page for each school.

On that one page, you’ll find results for all student and for 12 students groups, including percent proficient/distinguished in each tested subject, and also including the four-year graduation rate for high schools.

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What Research Tells Us About Exit Exams and the State Board of Education’s Responsibility

The Prichard Committee and partner organizations have called for a delay of the Kentucky Board of Education’s vote on proposed minimum high school graduation requirements, requesting due diligence in the Board’s review of the proposal brought to them on Aug. 2, 2018. This is a critical issue given the changing nature of our economy and the fact that only 65 percent of Kentucky’s 2017 graduating seniors received a college or career ready diploma.

The basic frame of the proposal, which includes a core academic foundation and more personalized pathways for students, holds promise for ensuring a more meaningful high school diploma for Kentucky students. Creating more meaningful diplomas is a critical issue given the changing nature of our economy and the fact that only 65 percent of Kentucky’s 2017 graduating seniors received a college or career ready diploma.

However, two late additions to the proposal – exit exams in reading and mathematics and requiring a student to be transition ready to graduate – are vague in their details and have benefitted from little to no public discussion or input. If approved, the proposal would be a significant shift in Kentucky’s accountability model.

Kentucky vests significant responsibility in an appointed body of citizens to the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) and their hiring of a professional Commissioner to lead the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE). The weight of this responsibility requires the KBE and the KDE to thoroughly research and analyze proposals for assurance that they will serve to move our state system of public education and Kentucky’s students forward.

With that in mind, the following is a review of the body of research on exit exams which we began to put together following the proposal to the KBE in August. While the details of the Department’s proposal have not been clearly spelled out and may not be identical to any one implementation model from other states, the findings of the research can and should be used to inform Kentucky’s approach to increasing student success.

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Delivering Pre-k in Clay County

SEPTEMBER 2018  \\\\\  PARTNERS IN EDUCATION AT BEREA COLLEGE in CLAY COUNTY DELIVERING EARLY LEARNING Teacher Melinda Morgan’s morning preschool class is in high gear. In the manner of accomplished early childhood teachers, she prompts students to think, share, and...

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2018 Middle School Results Are Mixed

Compared to 2017, middle school KPREP results released today showed potentially important increases in reading and writing proficiency, but also showed proficiency declines in mathematics and social studies. As shown in the table below, this pattern was visible for...

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2018 Elementary Results Raise Concerns

Compared to 2017, elementary school KPREP results released today showed declining levels of proficiency in math, social studies and writing and only small increases in reading proficiency. As shown in the table below, this pattern was visible for all students and also...

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AUTHORS

BRIGITTE BLOM RAMSEY
PERRY PAPKA
CORY CURL
SUSAN PERKINS WESTON
LONNIE HARP
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