For the four goals contained in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Kansas has made strides in all four areas. Listed below are some of the accomplishments the Kansas State Department of Education and Kansas School Districts have completed.
Teacher Education & Licensure
The Kansas State Department of Education has been engaged in both state and national initiatives through two high profile commissions working together. These commissions address both leader and teacher recruitment and retention of the best and the brightest effective teachers. As a result of the commissions’ work, the following efforts have been implemented:
- A teacher leader license honoring career teacher leaders
- An evidenced-center assessment developed by both experts and Kansas educators.
- Pathwise Mentoring
- Santa Cruz New Teacher Center Mentoring
- A partnership created with the Board of Regents to host forums which engage community colleges and four-year public and non-public institutions
- A multi-segmented video celebrating P-12 best practices which include successful examples of Kansas “Grow Your Own” programs, mentoring and mid-career alternative preparation programs to restricted licensure. Segments have played on radio, television, in movie theaters, and online newspapers across the state.
- All licensure program standards are being revised, reviewed and rewritten.
- Creation of an Alternative Advisory Committee to study the current programs available to mid-career changers.
- State supported professional development for teachers entered around topics voted upon by teachers and leaders.
In addition, the Kansas State Board of Education and the Professional Standards Board have also endorsed the planning of a number of other initiatives as a result of the work of both the Teacher Commission and the Leader Commission.
Kansas System of School and District Support - Kansas Learning Network
The Kansas State Department of Education is dedicated to the academic success of all students. As a result, a framework of support is offered to districts with schools that are actively engaged in continuous school improvement. The Kansas System of School and District Support assists schools and districts identified on improvement, corrective action or school restructuring.
One initiative of the Kansas System of School and District Support is the Kansas Learning Network. This year districts in Kansas that were identified for corrective action and had schools on improvement were given the opportunity to form a network with five districts (Kansas City, Topeka, Turner, Wichita, and Garden City), the Kansas State Department of Education and Cross & Joftus, LLC. These districts represented:
- 20% of all students in Kansas
- 50% of minority students in Kansas
- 41% of all ELL students in Kansas
- 33% of all low SES students in Kansas
The Kansas Learning Network recognized that these districts had not only unique needs, but also common challenges. This initiative presented an opportunity to collaborate on solutions, with the goal of building working relationships between districts and the Kansas State Department of Education in order to improve on academic success. Leadership, empowering culture, human resources and professional development, and academic performance were the focus of the support and collaboration. The process included regularly scheduled network meetings, an intensive needs assessment conducted by district network members, Cross & Joftus consultants and the Kansas State Department of Education, as well as each of the five districts being provided twenty-four days of focused technical assistance to address findings from the needs assessment.
The Kansas System of School and District Support also defined a school improvement model and process for schools and districts on improvement, corrective action or school restructuring. This process included assigning a primary Kansas State Department of Education contact for each district, providing staff development around root cause analysis and the school improvement process, appointing an outside committee of experts for each school and facilitating a peer review of the final school improvement plan. Numerous documents, handbooks and resource materials were created to support districts and schools in the process. Both Title I, Part A, Sec. 1003(a) and 1003(g) money were awarded to schools based on their needs assessment and planning process. The Kansas State Department of Education also sponsored opportunities for all districts to network informally at agency sponsored events such as the Phi Delta Kappa (PDK) Curriculum, Assessment, Design and Delivery training.
Standards & Assessments - A balanced and coherent assessment system:
The department continues to develop an assessment system that seeks to balance all the demands of accountability with the instructional needs of educators. In an effort to merge instruction and accountability, we are moving beyond our current system towards improvement in the following areas:
- Creating instructional reports and other database resources to link formative, summative and benchmark assessments with classroom instruction.
- Reduce the “footprint” of the assessments on students to increase instructional time.
- Create a flexible system that will enable us to reformat rather than reinvent new assessments every few years.
- Create opportunities to use additional innovative assessment models, e.g., growth models, computer adaptive assessments and performance items.
- Integrate with other areas of accountability, including career and technical education, teacher education, English language learners and special education.
Create an alternate assessment based on modified achievement standards for the 2% student population
The Kansas Assessment of Multiple Measures (KAMM) is an alternate assessment with modified achievement standards (AA-MAS). Currently, the KAMM is in final stages of the federal peer review for reading and math, and in various stages for science, writing and history/government. The structure, reading passages and assessment items of the test were designed to match the students’ grade-level knowledge and skills, as specified in the state’s indicators. This was achieved by minimizing or removing the effects of processing or physical challenges related to students’ disabilities, without significantly altering the format of the assessment. Appropriate access to test content is necessary to ensure the validity of the assessment results, which emphasizes the importance of the KAMM design as it considers the particular needs of the students eligible for the assessment in order to increase their access to what is being tested. Lack of access could cause a student to be measured on content other than what is intended (construct-irrelevance). In addition, this construct-irrelevance could interfere with a student’s ability to fully demonstrate what he or she knows, resulting in an underestimation of the student’s achievement (under-representation). The overall goal for creating a modified assessment is to ensure engaging and supportive test items that assess grade-level content, yet are adapted for the KAMM student population (2%) in order to reduce the irrelevant language as well as making the content easy to understand without significantly changing the content.
Kansas sees early intervention and high-quality instruction met with student needs as the key for students to be successful in rigorous college and career-ready standards. To achieve this, Kansas has developed a model known as the Kansas Multi-Tier System of Supports (MTSS).
MTSS provides a framework for schools to create an integrated system which is based on valid and reliable high-quality assessments that are appropriate for all students (including English language learners and students with disabilities) and are predictive of future reading, math and behavioral success, research based curriculum and instruction provided with fidelity and problem solving to customize instruction when necessary to ensure that all students are learning and will be successful.
To support bringing this effort to scale in schools across Kansas, the Kansas State Department of Education has supported the creation of both materials and a statewide training network to provide support to school districts. The supports currently address literacy, mathematics and behavior k-12 and are being expanded to include pre-k. The support system for schools consists of 24 facilitators located in 12 education agencies across the state as well as a state team of 12 individuals to support the facilitators and the creation of additional training and support materials which include:
- Kansas MTSS: Innovation Configuration Matrix
- Kansas MTSS: Research Base
- Kansas MTSS: Structuring Guide
- Kansas MTSS: Beginning of Year Implementation Guide
- Kansas MTSS: Middle of Year Implementation Guide
- Kansas MTSS: End of Year Implementation Guide
Schools implementing MTSS are seeing significant improvement in student learning, both academically and socially. Results have been demonstrated at all levels from elementary through high school on a variety of measures from early literacy to the Kansas State Assessments. The improved literacy and mathematic skills that students are demonstrating lead to future success and achievement in rigorous college and career-ready standards.
Longitudinal Data System
In the past few years the Kansas State Department of Education has made great strides in the implementation of a statewide longitudinal data system to inform education. The major accomplishments include the following projects.
Unique Student Identifiers:
In the spring of 2005 KSDE began assigning unique state student identifiers (SSIDs) to all students attending public and private accredited schools in Kansas. These identifiers remain with students and are used to track their progress throughout their education careers.
Longitudinal Student Data:
KSDE developed and implemented the Kansas Individual Data on Students (KIDS) system n the fall of 2005. KIDS is a student level data collection and reporting system. KIDS data includes state student identifiers (SSID) and basic student demographics along with program participation data such as migrant, English Language Learner, Special Education, Virtual Education, and Technical Education. The KIDS data is used to determine student enrollment, student attendance and membership, graduation and dropout rates, school accountability and accreditation, and for various state and federal reports.
Enterprise Data System:
In 2006, KSDE began a 3-year Enterprise Data System (EDS) initiative, funded at by the state legislature, which is integrating data from existing source collection systems (e.g., the KIDS, Organization, Assessment, Title Programs, Special Education, Technical Education, Educator Licensure, Staff Assignment, and Finance systems) into an Enterprise Data Warehouse.
P-20 Data Connection:
A National Governors Association (NGA) grant, awarded in 2006, made it possible for the state to begin investigation of connecting education data between KSDE and KBOR. This initiative has continued as part of the Enterprise Data System. KSDE and KBOR have now implemented a process for connecting P-12 state student identifiers with the KBOR student identifiers.
KSDE has worked with the department of Social and Rehabilitation Services to develop and implement a process for providing information to districts regarding student qualification status for free and reduced lunch.
Kansas Course Codes:
In 2007 KSDE received a federal grant which included funds for working with Kansas schools and districts to establish and implement standard state course codes. Standard course codes are important to maintain longitudinal student records electronically, transmit course taking information for one student information system to another, reduce the cost and burden of transcript studies and research, and meet federal reporting requirement. Starting with the 2010 school year, all course data collection will be based on the Kansas Course Codes.
At the request of school and district staff, KSDE initiated the Data Quality Certification (DQC) Program in 2006 with Data Entry and Data Coordinator certification tracks in order to improve the quality of data reported to the state. The purposes of the DQC Program are:
- To build a culture of quality data in the State of Kansas.
- To improve data quality and reduce the negative effects of inaccurate/missing data.
- To recognize the hard work and accomplishments of schools and districts in managing data.
- To reinforce that data management responsibilities are critical to an effective school environment and require a specific set of skills.
- To provide networking opportunities for school and district staff members from across the state.
Recognizing the importance of effectively managing the data that are collected from schools and districts, KSDE implemented a Data Governance Program in 2005. This program includes definition and responsibilities for data ownership and data stewardship, and outlines the goals and objectives for the Data Governance Board, the Data Steward Workgroup, and the Data Request Review Board.
Master Data Management:
KSDE’s Enterprise Data System includes integration of data through implementation of Master Data Management (MDM) processes to ensure core data are captured and defined consistently across the enterprise. KSDE’s MDM processes ensure that core student data, organization (school and district) data, and course data are collected and managed in one place, but can be used by numerous applications.