The Morehead News

Local News

October 7, 2011

SB 1 implementation making progress

Oct. 7, 2011 —     On March 26, 2009, Gov. Steve Beshear signed Senate Bill 1 into law; revising the state’s public school testing and accountability procedures in hopes of making Kentucky students better prepared for college and work.

    The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) and other professional boards, along with postsecondary academic officers, have revised the educational content standards to meet the requirements within Senate Bill 1.

    The following approaches were used to develop a unified set of strategies for K-12 in order to maximize college and workforce readiness:

    • Ensure standards are aligned from elementary to high school to postsecondary education so that students can be successful at each educational level.

    • Produce fewer but more in-depth standards to ensure mastery learning.

    • Create standards with evidence-based research.

    • Consider international benchmarks.

    • Focus on critical knowledge, skills and capacities needed for success in the global economy.

    • Focus on full implementation of the Individual Learning Plan (ILP) and comprehensive advising programs in college and career readiness.

    KDE explained that the new law addresses what type of testing will be used, what subjects that will be tested, when tests are given and what should be included in the P-12 public school accountability system.

    Allison Mathews, Rowan County assessment and curriculum coordinator, said the complete implementation process would take up to five years.

    “This is our second year of implementation of what we now call ‘Unbridled Learning,’” said Mathews. “Full implementation may take five years but we are accountable for the work this year.”

    Mathews said three different networks were set up during the first year as training began.

    Once a month, teacher representatives in each district of Kentucky met with cross-agency networks to gain the most up-to-date information for the content areas of English/language arts and math that they then brought back to share with their schools.

    Principals attended another network to learn strategies for executing the changes and new standards.

    Administrators from each district attended their own network meetings to deal with facilitating change district-wide and to gain knowledge on ways to support other administrators, teachers and students with the new standards and school accountability measures.

    “This year the administrator and principal networks are combined so that they can work as a team during training,” said Mathews.

    Districts in Kentucky are required to give a K-2 assessment/primary diagnostic test.

    “Rowan County is using the Northwest Evaluation Associations (NWEA) MAP test. This test is aligned with the common core standards which we are implementing in reading and mathematics this year,” Mathews added.

    CATS testing brought about by the Kentucky Educational Reform Act in 1990 has changed with the passage of Senate bill 1.

    “We are doing away with the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) in reading and math. The new test called Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) tests are for grades 3-8 and is a blended model of the norm-referenced test (NRT) and the criterion references test (CRT),” said Mathews.

    “NCS Pearson has been awarded the contract for this test and it contains multiple-choice, open-response and short answer items,” she added.

    Mathews said students at the high school level will be given End of Course (EOC) assessments after completing English II, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History.

    “The EOC may be used for a percentage of the student’s final grade in the course,” she said. “There is not a required state benchmark score on the EOC assessments, but the scores will contribute to the school’s and district’s accountability.”

    In February 2010, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the nationally-recognized common core college and career standards for English and mathematics, according to the KDE.

    “Higher education has been a big part of the Senate Bill 1,” Mathews said. “Morehead State University representatives have been attending various training courses across the state working with Rowan County Senior High School to offer many students the opportunity to earn dual credits for both high school and college.”   

    The Rowan County Board of Education has been given monthly reports on the implementation and processes of Senate Bill 1 since its inception.

    “Change is often difficult, but the teachers and staff have been working to break the learning standards down into daily targets.” Mathews said. “Having teacher representatives attend the monthly network meetings ensures the district is up-to-date with the ‘Unbridled Learning’ standards, thereby allowing teachers to focus on instruction and student learning versus acquiring all of the bill’s requirements individually.”

    Mathews feels that teachers and staff in Rowan County are very positive about the new standards.

    “It’s exciting to hear a teacher comment that students in Morehead will be learning the same things as students across the country and, that with the adoption of national core standards, our students will be able to compete for jobs not only in Kentucky, but globally.”

    Specific information about the standards children are to learn at each grade level can be found at www.corestandards.org/the-standards.

    Kim Bandura can be reached at kbandura@themoreheadnews.com or by telephone at 784-4116.

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