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Assessment: State Accountability

What does the state test and accountability system look like?

Starting this school year, Kentucky will use a new state assessment called the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP). This new test will replace the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) that students have taken since the early 1990s. Schools’ progress on K-PREP will be calculated using a score between 1 and 100. This will be much different than the scores that went all the way up to 140 with the old system. Each school will work toward a total possible score of 100 by earning points within several different areas of academic accomplishment.

Achievement

Schools earn points in this area for the percentage of students that score proficient or distinguished. The more students in a school that earn one of those two scores, the more points the school earns in the achievement category. Schools also gain bonus points for students scoring distinguished, half points for students scoring apprentice, and lose bonus points for students who score novice.

For the first time students will have an End of Course exam in U.S. History, Algebra II, English II and Biology at the high school level. The four end of course exams will count both as part of school achievement accountability and as 20% of the student’s final grade in these four classes.

Gap

Schools earn points in this area for the percentage of students scoring proficient or distinguished who qualify for one or more “gap group.” Monitoring the gap groups is a way to ensure that schools are continuing to close the achievement gaps with specific subpopulations. Students qualify for a gap group if they are included in one or more of the following demographic groups: (a) African American, (b) Hispanic, (c) Native American, (d) Free/Reduced Lunch, (e) Special Education, or (f) Limited English Proficiency.

Growth

Schools earn points in this area for the percentage of students who made “typical growth” from the previous year. Typical growth is when a student makes as much, or more, growth as the 40%ile or above in his/her peer group. A student’s peer group, for K-PREP, is made up of all the students in Kentucky who are in the same grade and earned the same score on the previous year’s state assessment.

College and Career Readiness

To determine if students have the skills to meet his or her career goals, Senate Bill 1 has implemented a College and/or Career Ready standard for students in middle school and high school.

Senate Bill 1 defines College Readiness as the level of preparation a first-time student needs in order to succeed in a credit-bearing course at a postsecondary institution. Career Readiness is defined as the level of preparation a high school graduate needs to proceed to the next step in a chosen career.

Scott County Schools agrees that it is vital to have students ready for career and college opportunities after high school. We have implemented strategies to promote college and career readiness through:

Accelerated learning opportunities through 19 Advanced Placement Course and many more Honors Course opportunities.

Career preparation courses through Elkhorn Crossing School, Scott County High School and all three Middle Schools.

College and Career Readiness Advising through the Individual Learning Plan program in which all secondary students participate.

Postsecondary course options that we currently offer through Bluegrass and Community Technical College.

Intervention programs that assist students in academic areas he or she may be struggling with.

The basic indicator for College and Career readiness is the ACT. ACT indicators include students meeting the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) Benchmarks for Reading (20), English (18) and Mathematics (19) on any administration of the ACT. Students who do not meet the CPE Benchmark on any of the three areas of ACT can qualify by taking and meeting benchmarks on the COMPASS test his or her senior year.

Graduation Rate

Another part of the new state accountability is Average Freshman Graduation Rate or (AFGR). AFGR is determined by taking the total number of students that start ninth grade and then take the percent of students that graduate in four years.

Although AFGR will only be part of the high school’s accountability, we at Scott County Schools realize it will take the efforts of all grade levels to have a high graduation rate. Scott County High School’s graduation rate has increased from 76% in 2008 to currently a graduation rate of 88.76%. Our current graduation rate is 12% higher than the state average of 76.68%.

We have increased our graduation rate over the past couple of years by:

Restructuring our Cardinal Academy to serve more students at risk and developing alternate ways for the students to earn graduation credits.

Developing a Career Technical program at both ECS and SCHS that caters to diverse learners and career interest.

Identifying and providing additional mentoring for students that are at risk of dropping out.

Developing a Response to Intervention program that helps assures students arrive at the high school prepared in areas of Math and Reading.

Working with the Adult Education Program to provide students with alternate ways to receive a high school diploma.

 

What about arts and humanities and content areas not on the new state test?

As part of Senate Bill 1, the Kentucky Department of Education has implemented a new assessment and accountability model in all Kentucky schools which started in 2011-2012. One portion of this model is the Program Review. Schools in Scott County will complete three Program Reviews this year in the areas of writing, arts and humanities and practical living/career studies. Through this reflective process, schools in Scott County receive immediate feedback to identify strengths as well as areas of improvement which they can begin to address in a timely and effective way.

Previously students in Kentucky completed writing portfolios and took a test each spring to assess their learning in arts and humanities and practical living/career studies. Now, instead of a paper and pencil test, teams of teachers and administrators complete Program Reviews throughout the year looking for specific characteristics for a high quality school. The Program Review analyzes how writing, arts and humanities and practical living/career studies have been integrated across all subjects to ensure students were provided the opportunity to learn these important skills. Schools will rate themselves in each of these areas using a self-evaluation chart. The purpose is to show improvement from one year to the next.