KETS Standards and Establishing Technology Need
Technology and Learning Standards
The Kentucky Academic Standards contain the minimum required technology standards that all Kentucky students should have the opportunity to learn before graduating (minimum graduation requirements) from a Kentucky high school. The technology standards address what is to be learned, but do not address how learning experiences are to be designed, what resources should be used, or how the standards are to be demonstrated. The current technology standards are included in Kentucky Core Academic Standards and will be updated during the life of this master plan. While the current technology standards were based on previous International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards, newly updated standards are slated to be based on the new, modernized ISTE Standards.
Additionally, Kentucky is developing statewide, comprehensive K-12 Computer Science Standards. These standards are based on the Computer Science Framework and are designed for all students with identified cross-curricular connections. The Kentucky Computer Science standards will help establish a new emphasis for all, exposing all students to computational thinking and problem solving skills through five concept areas (Computing Systems, Networks and the Internet, Data and Analysis, Algorithms and Programming, and Impacts of Computing).
From the inception of the Kentucky Education Technology System, the existence of standards has provided Kentucky with "the edge" over all other states. Standards represent a uniform set of specifications and guidelines that are leveraged to ensure system interoperability and reduce operational complexity, therefore reducing the overall Total Cost of Ownership. Our approach is an enterprise design in which all districts are working toward common objectives. Kentucky is committed to the guiding principle of viewing technology investments from an enterprise perspective. The Enterprise Architecture and subsequent standards represent the overall plan and a living process for designing and implementing education technology (EdTech) solutions to serve both instructional and administrative functions.
An information technology architecture and related set of standards are vital to ensure the compatibility of the current education technology projects and future education technology initiatives. The Enterprise Standards are important for defining the rules by which technology is envisioned, implemented, and managed."
Since 1992, enterprise standards have anchored all instructional, administrative, and technical aspects of Education Technology. These standards have afforded the state a) significant savings in the initial procurement of technology equipment, b) equitable supportability regardless of geographic location, c) a foundational infrastructure to provide for secure, global ease of access, d) statewide collaboration via various forms of electronic mediums (email, telephonic, video-conferencing), e) statewide adoption of the Internet as an instructional resource, and f) uniform education technology applications to address both student management and financial management. All Commonwealth of Kentucky public school districts share in the benefit of each of these efficiencies due to a common set of standards. Standards minimize the retraining required when staff move between schools or districts and lessen the annual support required after implementation. In a Kentucky K-12 study, the Gartner Group noted the architectural standards approach saves Kentucky millions of dollars annually.
Technology need standards represent the equitable baseline of all technology components required to adequately address both the education technology instructional and administrative needs of K-12 and involve the following three separate but complementary criteria:
- Component ratios (quantities) – Expectation that all districts maintain minimum ratios, based on average daily attendance, total number of schools, total number of teachers or total number of classrooms, for each technology component to effectively address equitable and ease of access for all instructional and administrative activities.
- Component refresh cycle (years) – Replacement of components on a scheduled basis over time, in accordance with the useful life cycle of each item or service
- Component standards (architectural design/configuration specifications and products) – While promoting the uniquely diversified education technology needs at school and district levels to further capitalize on the advantages of a standards based technology environment, some Technology Need Standards are further defined with architectural specifications which may result in the establishment of a product standard. All published architectural design/configuration technical specifications and associated products are considered KETS Technology Need Standard Components.
Architectural design and configuration standards represent a uniform set of specifications and guidelines that support system interoperability and reduce operational complexity, therefore reducing the overall total cost of ownership.
KETS has established and maintains architectural design and configuration standards to ensure enhancement, maximization and security of the education technology environment in Kentucky. The following are some of the core standards included:
- Internet Access
- Directory Services
- Internet Content Management
- Security Services (Virus / Malware Protection, Patch Management, Firewall)
- Electronic Mail
- Application and Database Platform
- Common Student Information System
- Common Financial Management System
These are best described in the KETS Technical Environment Information reference document for local school districts, which is provided to our vendor partner community to support the bidding, contract and procurement processes that serve Kentucky school districts and KDE.
The following 12 Architectural Design Principles are used to guide KETS solution design by helping ensure that KETS is "doing the work right." They serve as standard requirements and are considered in combination with the specific functional requirements of each project. Any given solution may not fully meet one or more of these principles. However, if that is the case, there should be solid rationale and explicit understanding prior to moving forward with the design or solution.
- Equitable – Solutions should provide equal value and benefit to schools and districts regardless of local budgets, existing equipment and software, geographical location, or organization size.
- Always On, Anywhere, Anytime, Any Device – Solutions should be available and supported 24/7, be accessible from a wide range of devices, and be accessible from any physical location.
- Supportable – Solutions should use equipment, software and services that are efficiently supportable and manageable by both KETS staff and the responsible vendors.
- Learning First – Solutions should prioritize instructional and learning needs above administrative needs.
- Partners Involved – Solutions should maximize partner accountability by making all possible use of partner capabilities for development, infrastructure, ongoing operations and support.
- Education Driven – Solutions should cost-effectively meet a well-defined educational/programmatic/administrative need of school districts and/or KDE.
- Up-to-date: Solutions should use leading-edge technologies and offerings.
- Measurable: Solutions should provide easy-to-use mechanisms to report on system usage.
- Integrated – Solutions should integrate with existing KETS infrastructure while aligning with KETS strategy for the future.
- Usable – Solutions should be easy, efficient and pleasant to use for their target user populations.
- Secure – Solutions should protect confidential data, their own integrity, and the KETS environment against accidental or malicious damage.
- Cloud – Solutions should be based on cloud offerings (ideally SaaS).
Kentucky K-12's education technology product and design standards are "the" big edge that KY K-12 has on the other 49 states and a big reason KETS is viewed as a national leader in education technology. KY K-12 is the national leader in having education technology product and design standards/policies for all our schools, districts and for the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) program areas. This allows KY K-12 to (1) significantly reduce costs, (2) provide equity of price and service to all districts, (3) make all the technology-enabled components work reliably together in large scale with smaller EdTech staffs, (4) quickly integrate different large EdTech systems together and (5) provide great cyber security.
Therefore, KDE's Office of Education Technology is able to effectively provide a variety of effective operational services and a protective cyber security bubble around all schools, district offices and KDE program areas that follow those KETS product and design standards/policies.
Product standards provide the purest alignment and maximizing of efficiencies within KETS when KETS product components are utilized. These technology components embody architectural design/configuration specifications established by the award of a KETS vendor contract that resulted from a formal bid request issued by open, competitive solicitation or a request for proposal (RFP). Contracts are awarded in accordance with the Kentucky Model Procurement Code through the Kentucky Finance and Administration Cabinet, Office of Procurement Services. These contracts are intended to provide the most impressive levels of interoperability, minimal support complexity and most conservative total cost of ownership across K-12. In addition, the purchasing power of the state is maximized by leveraging the weight of the entire organization to buy a product standard. Specific technology (hardware or software) deemed by either the KDE or Commonwealth Office of Technology as an enterprise component made available via a statewide procurement vehicle (state or KETS contract) are considered KETS and/or State Product Standards.
Any technology procured or secured by a district, in a category for which a KETS technology need standard is established, regardless of whether the item is used to reduce the technology need or not, must meet or exceed the KETS standard in compliance with 701 KAR 5:110 and must be reflected in statewide reporting (through the Technology Activity Report and Digital Readiness Collection).
The following technology will not be used to reduce the technology need of the district for calculating the amount of offers of assistance for which the district is eligible.
- secured through local initiative which is not procured with public revenues
- procured with federal categorical funds
The following table lists KETS Standards categories and those that are further defined with a Component Standard.
Accessible version of the KETS Standard Chart