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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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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Transition Readiness: The Kentucky Definition

Kentucky has identified eleven ways our high school students can show that they are ready for success in college or a career, with schools getting credit if students fulfill any one of the eleven options.
Those options are set up in the regulation creating our new accountability system, 703 KAR 5:270. Under that regulation, the Transition Readiness Indicator will reflect four kinds of data on high school graduates:

Students demonstrating academic readiness
Students demonstrating career readiness
English learners who meet criteria for English language proficiency
Students who participate in the alternative assessment program and meet academic or career readiness criteria on those assessments

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Exploring Charter School Basics

Hot of the presses, here’s the Prichard Committee’s new overview of Kentucky’s laws on charter schools.

In six pages, Kentucky Charter Schools: Some Frequently Asked Questions shares definitions, rules on charter school accountability and admissions, requirements for charter school applications and authorization, and other parts of the legal framework for charter schools in our Commonwealth.

Sources for learning more about Kentucky’s charter school statutes and regulations are also included, and we hope you find it helpful!

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New Accountability Identification Will Invite Citizen Engagement

By the end of September, the Kentucky Department of Education will identify:

About 50 schools for comprehensive support and improvement (CSI) based on the performance of all students
Close to half of all schools for targeted support and improvement (TSI) based on how specific student groups are doing
This new approach will challenge schools to seek deeper and stronger ways to build excellence with equity, and it will create a new opening for community participation in developing schools where all students can flourish.

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AUTHORS

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