Kentucky – Accountability

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The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) is the latest reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. ESSA requires states to submit plans to the U.S. Department of Education (US ED) describing the state systems for evaluating school performance and holding schools accountable for improvement. States could submit their plans to the US ED by either April 3 or September 18, 2017. After receiving feedback on their plans from the US ED, states finalize their plans. State accountability systems take effect in school year 2017-18.

SREB developed this profile based on analysis of the plan Kentucky submitted to the US ED on September 18, 2017.  SREB will update the profile when Kentucky finalizes its plan.

State Highlights: Expectations for College and Career Readiness

States are not required to include college- and career-readiness expectations in their accountability systems under ESSA. Many SREB states, however, did set college- and career-readiness expectations in their plans, in the form of long-term goals and school performance indicators. Kentucky included the following college- and career-readiness expectations in its plan.

  1. School performance indicators
    • Academic indicators.
      • Elementary and middle grades schools: ESSA requires states to establish “other” academic indicators for elementary and middle grades schools, in addition to proficiency on state English language arts and math assessments. Kentucky’s transition readiness indicator measures school success in preparing students for the next level of their education career. The indicator awards points to schools for students meeting the state’s benchmark composite score on state reading, writing, math, science and social studies assessments (K-PREP).
      • High schools: Kentucky established an indicator of academic achievement for high schools that is not required by ESSA. The transition readiness indicator for high schools awards points for students earning a high school diploma, reaching proficiency on the English language proficiency assessment if applicable and demonstrating one of the following.
        • Academic readiness: meeting benchmarks on college admissions exam, earning “B” letter grade or higher on six or more dual credit course hours, scoring 3 or higher on two or more AP exams, scoring 5 on two or more IB exams, or meeting benchmarks on two or more Cambridge Advanced International exams
        • Career readiness: meeting benchmarks on industry certification exams or earning Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment credit, and earning “B” letter grade or higher on six or more career and technical education course credit hours, completing two career and technical education credits and enrolling in another program, completing apprenticeship or completing work experience
        • Military readiness: meeting benchmarks on Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and enlisting in military service or completing two Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and enrolling in another program
    • School quality or student success indicator. ESSA requires states to set an indicator for school quality or student success, which can but does not have to include such measures as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. Kentucky’s indicator of school quality or student success awards points to schools for providing students opportunity and access to the following experiences.
      • Elementary and middle grades schools: courses in career exploration, fine arts, health, physical education, science and social studies, and gifted services
      • High schools:
        • Coursework: Completion of courses in fine arts, health and physical education, cultural studies or world languages
        • Advanced coursework: Student subgroup participation in AP, IB, Cambridge Advanced International and dual credit coursework
        • Career pathways: Completion of a pathway program
        • Work ethic: Performance on work ethic certification in grade 12, earning a bronze or higher

Read about these expectations below in the profile.

Long-Term Goals

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish long-term goals for all students and student groups based on academic achievement, high school graduation rates and English language proficiency for English learners.

Kentucky established the following long-term goals.

Academic achievement

  • By 2030, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – not reaching proficiency on Kentucky’s reading and math assessments will decline by 50 percent.
  • By 2030, 82 percent of elementary students, 81 percent of middle grades students and 80 percent of high school students will be proficient on Kentucky’s reading assessment. Eighty percent of elementary students, 75 percent of middle grades students and 71 percent of high school students will be proficient on Kentucky’s math assessment.
  • By 2030, the achievement gap on Kentucky’s reading and math assessments between lower-performing student groups and higher-performing student groups will decline by 50 percent.

Graduation rate

  • By 2030, the percentage of all students – and each student subgroup – not graduating from high school will decline by 50 percent. By 2030, 95 percent of students will graduate from high school in four years; 96 percent will graduate in five years.
  • By 2030, the gap between student groups with lower graduation rates and student groups with higher graduation rates will decline by 50 percent.

English language proficiency

  • By 2030, 81 percent of elementary English learners, 68 percent of middle grades English learners and 68 percent of high school English learners will meet annual English language proficiency growth targets, and the percentage of English learners not meeting annual English language proficiency growth targets will decline by 50 percent.

School Performance Indicators

ESSA specifies a set of indicators that states must use to assess school performance. Indicators for all schools must include academic achievement as measured by proficiency on annual state assessments of English language arts and math in grades three through eight and once in high school. States must require 95 percent of students to participate in these assessments and factor this requirement into the school accountability system. States must also include two more indicators for all schools – English language proficiency for English learners and an indicator of school quality or student success, such as school climate and safety, student engagement and college readiness. For elementary and middle grades schools, states must include an additional academic indicator of the state’s choice, such as student growth on state assessments. For high schools, states must also include an indicator of four-year cohort graduation rate.

Kentucky established the following indicators of school performance.

Level Indicators

All schools

Academic achievement

  • Science and social studies: Weighted achievement on state science and social studies assessments – Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress, K-PREP, and end-of-course tests
  • Achievement gap closure: Gap between low-performing student subgroups and high-performing student subgroups, and gap between low-performing student subgroups and proficiency on state reading, writing, math, science and social studies assessments – K-PREP and end-of-course tests
  • Participation: Schools must meet the 95 percent participation rate for all students and subgroups

English language proficiency: Progress towards English proficiency on state assessment – WIDA ACCESS for ELLs 2.0

School quality or student success: Opportunity and access

  • Attendance – rates of chronic absenteeism
  • Student discipline, restraint and seclusion rates
  • Additional, locally-selected and state-approved measure for local education agencies and charter schools, such as access to librarians or media specialists, nurses, within-field certified teachers, and mental health services

Elementary and middle grades

Academic achievement: Weighted achievement on state reading, writing and math assessments – K-PREP

Other academic indicator

  • Student growth on state reading and math assessments – K-PREP
  • Transition readiness: Percentage of students earning benchmark composite score on state reading, writing, math, science and social studies assessments – K-PREP

School quality or student success: Opportunity and access

  • Access to fine arts, health, physical education, science, social studies and career exploration courses, and to gifted services

High schools

Academic achievement

  • Weighted achievement on state reading, writing and math assessments – end-of-course tests
  • Transition readiness: Students can demonstrate readiness by meeting any of the following requirements – earning a high school diploma, reaching proficiency on English language proficiency assessment if applicable and demonstrating one of the following.
    • Academic readiness: meet benchmarks on college admissions exam, earn “B” letter grade or higher on six or more dual credit course hours, score 3 or higher on two or more AP exams, score 5 on two or more IB exams, or meet benchmarks on two or more Cambridge Advanced International exams
    • Career readiness: meet benchmarks on industry certification exams or earn Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment credit, and earn “B” letter grade or higher on six or more career and technical education course credit hours, complete two career and technical education credits and enroll in another program, complete apprenticeship or complete work experience
    • Military readiness: meet benchmarks on Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery and enlist in military service or complete two Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps programs and enroll in another program

Graduation rate

  • Four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate
  • Five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate

School quality or student success: Opportunity and access

  • Coursework: Completion of courses in fine arts, health and physical education, cultural studies or world languages
  • Advanced coursework: Student subgroup participation in AP, IB, Cambridge Advanced International and dual credit coursework
  • Career pathways: Completion of a pathway program
  • Work ethic: Performance on work ethic certification in grade 12, earning a bronze or higher

Annual Meaningful Differentiation

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states use their performance indicators to differentiate the performance of all schools and to report performance for all students and all student subgroups. States have flexibility in assigning weight to their indicators, so long as their indicators of academic achievement, graduation rate and English language proficiency progress together receive much greater weight than their school quality or student success indicators.

Kentucky established the following framework for differentiating schools, weights for each indicator, and student subgroups and subgroup size.

Framework for differentiating schools in Kentucky

On an annual basis, schools will receive a rating of very high, high, medium, low or very low for each indicator, based on points awarded for meeting cut scores, and an overall rating of one to five stars, based on an index of school ratings on the indicators. Schools with a significant achievement gap issue can earn at most a three-star rating.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Kentucky

Instead of assigning weighted percentages to each indicator, Kentucky assigns the following possible points to each indicator.

Weights assigned to each indicator in Kentucky - Elementary and Middle Grades (30 Other Academic Indicator (Student Growth) and English Language Proficiency Progress / 25 Achievement Gap Closure / 25 Academic Achievement / 25 Science and Social Studies / 20 School Quality or Student Success / 10 Other Academic Indicator (Transition Readiness)) and High Schools (30 Academic Achievement (Transition Readiness) and English Language Proficiency Progress / 25 Achievement Gap Closure / 20 Academic Achievement (Reading, Writing and Math) / 20 Science and Social Studies / 20 School Quality or Student Success / 15 Gradation Rate)

Note. The English language proficiency progress indicator is combined with the other academic indicator (student growth) at the elementary and middle grades levels, and with the academic achievement (transition readiness) indicator at the high school level, and is weighted proportional to the population of English learners present in a school. At the high school level, the four-year and five-year graduation rates are weighted equally and averaged together.

Student subgroups in Kentucky

  • Subgroups used: For state accountability, Kentucky will focus on 10 student subgroups – economically disadvantaged students, students with disabilities, English learners, American Indian or Alaska native students, Asian students, black students, Hispanic or Latino students, native Hawaiian or Pacific islander students, students of two or more races, and white students. Kentucky will also report data on three additional subgroups, but not include the groups in accountability ratings: homeless students, students in foster care and military-affiliated students.
  • Size of subgroups: In instances in which schools do not meet the threshold of 10 students (n-count) for any of the subgroups for an indicator, the school will not be held accountable for performance on that indicator.

Identifying, Serving and Exiting Schools from Needs Improvement Status

The Every Student Succeeds Act requires that states establish a methodology for identifying low-performing schools. States must identify two categories of schools at least once every three years: those that need Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) and those that need Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). States may also establish other categories of schools, for example those not in need of improvement.

Kentucky established the following identification and exit criteria, and interventions to support schools.

Comprehensive Support and Improvement

How schools are identified

    Identified annually beginning in 2018-19, any schools that meet any of these criteria: 

    • CSI schools: Schools in the bottom 5 percent statewide, by level, based on overall summative rating and performance on indicators
    • CSI high schools: Schools with less than an 80 percent graduation rate
    • TSI schools: Schools that do not exit TSI status after three years

    Interventions to meet improvement needs

    State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

    • Comprehensive audits that include a needs assessment, leadership capacity review and recommended evidence-based strategies
    • Resource allocation review on a periodic basis
    • Educational recovery staff to support districts in assessing and allocating resources
    • Technical assistance with district improvement planning, and monitoring implementation of the plan
    • Menu of support services, or funding to select an outside partner organization

    After three years, schools not exiting CSI status or not making annual improvements for two years will be subject to additional state-led comprehensive audits every two years and will receive intensive support from state educational recovery staff.

    Criteria for exiting this category

      After two years, schools can exit CSI status by:

      • No longer meeting CSI identification criteria for two consecutive years
      • Demonstrating continued improvement on the indicators leading to CSI identification
      Targeted Support and Improvement

      How schools are identified

        • TSI schools, identified annually beginning in 2020-21: Any school with a “consistently underperforming” student subgroup that has performed as poorly as all students in any of the bottom 10 percent of schools statewide, by level, for two consecutive years
        • Additional TSI schools, identified annually beginning in 2018-19: Any school with a “low-performing” student subgroup that has performed as poorly as all students in any of the bottom 5 percent of schools statewide

        Interventions to meet improvement needs

          State will help local education agencies and their schools by providing:

          • Resource allocation reviews on a periodic basis
          • Educational recovery staff to support districts in assessing and allocating resources
          • Professional learning for district and school staff
          • Assigned educational recovery leader to collaborate on district improvement planning and support implementation
          • Assigned “hub schools” to share evidence-based best practices

          Criteria for exiting this category

            After three years, schools can exit TSI status by:

            • No longer meeting TSI identification criteria
            • Meeting additional district-determined exit criteria 

            This profile was prepared by Kim Anderson, SREB’s director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Mary Elizabeth Mira, SREB’s assistant director of benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards, Tiffany Harrison, SREB’s research associate for benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards and Jeff Gagné, SREB’s director of policy analysis. For more information, please contact Kim Anderson at kim.anderson@sreb.org or Jeff Gagné at jeff.gagne@sreb.org.