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Student 'Growth' Measurement Concerns Some Kentucky Superintendents

Some Kentucky superintendents have expressed concern with at least one indicator educators use to measure accountability, and education officials say tweaks to state’s new Unbridled Learning system could be forthcoming.

In the Kentucky Department of Education’s monthly webinar, Commissioner Terry Holliday said superintendents’ No. 1 concern is measuring student growth.That’s an indicator of how certain groups of students in one school compare with similar peer groups around the state.  It does not measure year-over-year achievements within the school. (Related: WFPL's coverage of Unbridled Learning results)This means some schools' test scores can be improving but not reaching their growth goals, says Ken Draut, KDE's director of assessment and accountability.The education department wants to collect three years of data before considering changes, he says.“After the third year, we’ll review our accountability and assessment system and then our goal is to take those recommendations to the board next fall to make adjustments to the system," Draut says.Some superintendents have expressed concern with the amount of weight the growth measurement has in the Unbridled Learning system. Right now, the measurement is 20 percent of high school scores, and twice as much for elementary schools. “We’ll start working with individuals and groups talking about what adjustments might be made in the whole system. But I think growth is getting a lot of the discussion right now," he says.The Unbridled Learning system also measures gap students (minorities and special needs), test scores, college-and-career readiness, and graduation rates. It gives each of these indicators unique weights before adding them together to rate schools.(Image via Shutterstock)

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