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Kentucky's Education Department Shows Concern Over New School Accountability Measure


Kentucky’s Education Department is keeping an eye on schools that have given themselves high scores when asked to self-assess their writing, arts and health programs.

In his monthly webinar to superintendents ( also in his blog), Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says concerns are raised when it comes to comparing those scores with student achievement.  The programs reviews will count for 23 percent of school scores next year and they'll expand to more subjects in the future. The reviews are supposed to measure all the supporting evidence of school programs except for standardized test scores. But Holliday says there is some question about schools that have great programs but aren’t getting results. “It is part of accountability so we do have to address validity and reliability issues,” he says. Some top-rated schools, like Jefferson County’s duPont Manual High School, put themselves in the “needs improvement” category. On the other hand, students from Western High School—which gave itself perfect program review scores in writing—do not perform well on the state's writing tests. “We are having some concerns that several schools, not many, but a few schools had high program review scores and very low writing performance. Those two on face value are a little inconsistent," says Holliday. School staff has received training on how to conduct self-assessments and he says the education department will also perform audits of random and purposefully selected schools. Finally, the department will start a research project to find correlations between program reviews and student achievement.  (Image via Shutterstock)