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Schools and districts will soon be seeing stars

School Report Card

Kentucky School Advocate
September 2019
By Brenna R. Kelly
Staff writer

When the state releases its 2018-19 accountability data, including K-PREP test scores, this fall, schools, districts and the state overall will receive a new rating – anywhere from one to five stars. 

The new system, which has been in the works for two years, is designed to measure how schools and districts are doing on several indicators of quality.

Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) officials said they expect a lot of interest when the star ratings are posted to the School Report Card in mid-to-late September. 

“I think when schools receive a high rating, there will be a lot of celebrating around it,” Rhonda Sims, KDE associate commissioner for standards, assessment and accountability, told the Kentucky Board of Education in August. “But I think the concern will also be if the rating is lower, they will want to understand how was it determined, what does it say about my school and how then do we make steps moving forward and how do we attain the goal to be at that higher level?” 

Here’s what school board members need to know based on information from KDE
Elementary and middle schools’ star rating will be based on these indicators: 

• Assessments in reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing. 

• Student growth in reading and mathematics and the progress of English learners.

High schools’ star rating will be based on these indicators: 

• Assessments in reading, mathematics, science and writing. 

• Transition readiness, which can be either academic or career ready, and includes English proficiency of English learners. 

• Graduation rate.

All schools’ and districts’ ratings will also be affected by achievement gaps, the gap in performance between different groups of students. For example, white students compared to African American students or economically disadvantaged students compared to non-economically disadvantaged students. 

KDE officials say if there is a significant gap in student performance, a school or district’s rating will be reduced by one star; however, the department did not define what would qualify as a significant gap. 

The department will bring together in early September a group of 23 stakeholders who will determine the range of scores for each of the indicators. Those ranges will then determine the star rating, said Jennifer Stafford, KDE division director for standards, accountability and assessment. 

First, the panel will create definitions for each star level, she said.

“These will be school level descriptors similar to what we have for our students when we have novice, apprentice, proficient and distinguished,” Stafford said. 

The descriptors could include labels, such as low performing, excellent performing or meet performance expectations for example, she said. Those descriptors will then be used to help determine the cut scores.

“The panel will establish cut scores on the overall score for what is a one star, a two-star, a three-star, four- and five-star school,” Stafford said. 

Like last year, the lowest performing schools will continue to receive the labels of Comprehensive Support and Improvement (CSI) or Targeted Support and Improvement (TSI). However, this year a new category, Additional Targeted Support and Improvement (ATSI) will be added because of a change in state law. 

Schools that have at least one subgroup of students whose performance is at or below the performance of all students in any of the lowest-performing five percent of schools and is already a TSI school will be labeled an ATSI school. 

The state accountability system and the star ratings will change again in fall 2020 when a measure of the “quality of school climate and safety” is added to the system.
Watch the KBE meeting online 
Listen to the star rating system discussion during the August KBE meeting,  
Standards setting committee
The 23 members include two Kentucky Board of Education members, six superintendents, three district assessment coordinators, two principals, two teachers, and several other business and community representatives. The members are:
• Hal Heiner, chair, Kentucky Board of Education
• Gary Houchens, member, Kentucky Board of Education
• Danny Adkins, superintendent, Floyd County schools
• Paul Mullins, superintendent, Logan County schools
• Marty Pollio, superintendent, Jefferson County schools
• Diane Hatchett, superintendent, Berea Independent schools
• Scott Hawkins, superintendent, Woodford County schools
• Aaron Collins, superintendent, Fulton County schools
• Teresa Nicholas, district assessment coordinator, Pulaski County schools
• Amanda Reed, district assessment coordinator, LaRue County schools
• Stephen Flatt, director of special education, Marshall County schools
• Jerri Rowland, principal, Monroe County Area Technology Center
• Susan Brashear, principal, Whitley Central Intermediate School
• Amy Lingo, dean, College of Education, University of Louisville
• Amy Razor, executive director, Northern Kentucky Cooperative for Educational Services
• Rhonda Caldwell, executive director, Kentucky Association of School Administrators
• Melissa Aguilar, executive director, Kentucky Workforce Innovation Board
• Rhonda Harmon, executive director, KASC
• Annissa Franklin, chief administrative officer, Urban League of Lexington
• Sarah Davasher-Wisdom, chief operating officer, Greater Louisville Inc.
• Penny Christian, parent, member of Kentucky PTA
• Margo Bruce, teacher, Webster County High School
• Amanda Underwood, teacher, Mason County Middle School
Brian Gong and Chris Domaleski of the Center for Assessment will facilitate the standard-setting process

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