Education Officials Set Small, Steady Goals for Student Improvement

Dec 6, 2012

FRANKFORT, Ky. - Kentucky Department of Education officials say another year of data is needed to determine what kind of improvement on student test scores should be expected from school districts.

Results from the first-ever Unbridled Learning accountability model were released last month, with scores based on a maximum 100 possible points. (As a district, Fayette County Public Schools had an overall score of 58.3.) The lowest performing schools scored in the 20s and 30s.

For next year, the state would like to see schools raise their overall score by at least one point. But Kentucky Board of Education member Roger Marcum questioned whether that goal was too low.   

“Is that a significant enough progress for a school that’s that low achieving? You have maybe a whole decade of students who would be in a school where they still wouldn’t be at 50.”  

At the board’s meeting in Frankfort this week, Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday emphasized that the primary goal is for schools to reach proficiency on college and career readiness. He says  improvement won’t be a quick process.

“To expect our schools and districts to overnight move from 30-40 percent proficient based on more rigorous standards to an old number we were used to, 80 or 90 percent, I think you’re setting up so many schools and districts for failure with that kind of logic,” said Holliday.  

The new accountability system classified 69 percent of Kentucky school districts, including Fayette County, as “needs improvement.”

The Department of Education says it consulted with a panel of assessment experts who recommend sticking with the one-point improvement goal for overall scores until more data are gathered next year.