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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Welcome to Ed.

For thirty-five years, the Prichard Committee has been talking about education. From books to reports, town halls and study groups, we’ve used many forums for these important discussions. Today, we launch a new one. Welcome to Ed. - a blog about excellence with equity...

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