May 17 2013

Published: 5/20/2013 11:00 AM
In this edition of Fast Five on Friday, you will find articles on the following:
  • Constructed Response Information
  • Next Superintendents’ Webcast on May 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET
  • Commissioner’s Blog This Week on Learning from Other Countries
  • Next Meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education on June 5
  • Adoption of Policy for Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age to 18 and Grant
  • Application/Certifications Document (Attachment) 
Fast Five on Friday
(Six Items)
Constructed Response Information – Last January and February, I shared with educators and the Kentucky Board of Education that the constructed response questions on the End-of-Course Assessments would need to shift from state administration to local administration. Due to recent questions as to why this action was taken, I am providing the rationale for the change below.
As to the programmatic reasons for the proposed change itself, there are several important and underlying concerns. It's important to understand the End-of-Course (EOC) test is the first time Kentucky has tried to blend a state accountability model with a local school grading model. The results of the test must support both grading and accountability. The issues are highlighted below:

• We were not getting our $2 million dollar investment for the Constructed Response (CR) items in the EOC tests. The reports didn't provide feedback to teachers/students on how they did on the Constructed Response (CR) items. The CR items did go into the total score, but no instructional information was returned to students. Therefore, the CR did not fulfill the concept of supporting local grading or help teachers understand how their students performed on CR items or provide any information that could be used to improve instruction.

• Due to the reporting timeline, CR items could not count for the student's final grade; the results cannot be turned around fast enough to use for the grading purposes. This meant that student motivation on these items could be very low because the items could not count for a grade.
Motivation was one of the main reasons to move to a high school EOC model.
• CR items got in the way of using the EOC test for a final grade. With CR included as a mandatory pen/paper test, there was a need to schedule the final exam up to three/four weeks before the course ended. This meant the final exam was given 15-20 days prior to the end of school. Teachers still had 15 days or so of teaching after the EOC exam. The EOC wasn't useful as a final exam.

What does the change mean?

• CR items are still going to be given in Kentucky high schools for the final exam. We will be monitoring and surveying all high schools to see how they build the CR into their final grades and we will report those results. If the data shows problematic use, we can take a stronger regulatory tact. The CR will be used just like they are supposed to be used throughout the year -- given on teachers’ tests as a regular part of instruction. By administering the CR, teachers will have results as soon as they score them and thus, student motivation and instructional value increases. (We have an item bank of items with scoring guides available to all teachers).

• EOC testing can now move to 100% computer-based for the state accountability portion. This means all schools can now give the EOC in the last day or so before the class ends because results are instant. This will make a truly end-of-course test and it will make it more useful for a real final exam. KDE will be working with ACT to resolve all EOC computer-based testing issues for the 2014 testing administration.
• Making this change resulted in a $2 million saving to the state of Kentucky that can be re-purposed to support SB1 assessment mandates.
• Finally, this change also makes the reporting of state results on a timely basis for the fall of 2013 highly probable.
So, in summary, we believe it is a win-win for teachers and the state. High school teachers get a more useful final exam with instant results. The state gets accountability information and CR questions are still an important part of the model at the local level.
Next Superintendents’ Webcast on May 31, 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET – Just a reminder that the next superintendents’ webcast is May 31, 2013 from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET.  Several topics have now been identified including maximizing the flexibility offered by Kentucky’s ESEA waiver, online testing, the Kentucky Core Academic Standards Fact Sheet, and the timeline for districts’ technology bandwidth upgrade.  As is customary during the broadcast, please e-mail questions to
We will record the session for those who cannot watch it live and the materials and link for the webcast will be forwarded to you closer to time for the actual broadcast.
Commissioner’s Blog This Week on Learning from Other Countries – I hope you will read my blog this week that focuses on my learnings and observations as part of Kentucky’s state team attending the most recent meeting of the Global Education Leaders’ Program.  You can access my blog at the following link: 
Next Meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education on June 5 – The next meeting of the Kentucky Board of Education will occur on June 5, 2013.  The announcement of the Districts of Innovation and the TELL Kentucky Survey Results will occur at 1:00 p.m. ET on June 5.  Additionally, this meeting will deal with the second reading on the new science standards.  The full agenda and materials for the meeting will be posted seven to ten days prior to the meeting at the following link:
Adoption of Policy for Raising the Compulsory Attendance Age to 18 and Grant Application/Certifications Document – I am running this article again to ensure that all superintendents, board chairs and principals know about the grant application process for the planning grants available to early adopters of a policy raising the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18.
As you are aware, the Kentucky General Assembly recently passed Senate Bill 97 (SB 97), which gives local boards of education the authority to adopt policies that raise the compulsory attendance age from 16 to 18. Those policies would then take effect beginning in the 2015-2016 school year. At the April meeting, the Kentucky Board of Education passed a resolution encouraging local boards to adopt the policy as early as June 25, 2013 (the effective date of SB 97). Following the adoption of this resolution by the Kentucky Board of Education, I communicated to all superintendents that there would be monetary planning grants available to qualifying districts that choose to adopt this policy during the 2013-2014 year. The awarded grants will total $10,000 each and will be disbursed to the approved districts after July 1, 2013 to the extent funding is available.
Please see the attached Raising Compulsory Attendance Age Grant Application and Certifications document that must be completed which clearly outlines the adoption process for local boards and includes the certifications necessary for compliance with the requirements of SB 97 and award of funding.  Additionally, please remember that districts should not finally adopt a compulsory attendance age policy prior to June 25, 2013 since the law does not take effect until June 25, 2013. If your district has already given final adoption to a policy under SB 97, we recommend that you re-ratify that decision on or after June 25, 2013.
All superintendents will receive a formal invitation from AdvancEd on June 26, 2013 asking them to upload into ASSIST a signed copy of the attached grant application/certifications document, the approved policy and board minutes showing its adoption. Please reference the guidance below concerning the procedure for next steps.

June 25, 2013 - Local Policy Adoption May Begin

June 26, 2013 - AdvancEd Sends Invitation to Superintendents to Upload into ASSIST Grant Application/Certifications Document, Approved Policy and Board Minutes Showing Adoption
Following ASSIST Upload - Superintendent  Sends E-mail  Confirming the Upload and Requesting Funds to:
July 3 and each Wednesday thereafter until all funding is allocated - KDE Reviews and Notifies District of Grant Award Status
I encourage and challenge each of you to adopt this policy raising the compulsory attendance age to 18 within your local district, as these efforts are a critical component of ensuring that each and every student in Kentucky graduates both college- and career-ready. Then, make sure you upload the required documents into ASSIST and forward the confirmation e-mail. Best wishes for a successful remainder of your academic year.
Questions on this process can be directed to Tom Edgett, Kentucky Department of Education, Branch Manager, Alternatives for Learning, Division of Student Success, (502) 564-4772 Ext. 4518 or via e-mail at
If you have questions on any of the articles included in this edition of Fast Five, please contact me at the e-mail address or phone number found below.
Terry Holliday, Ph.D.
Commissioner of Education
Kentucky Department of Education
Office 502-564-3141
Fax 502-564-5680
Twitter @kycommissioner