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Kansas State Board of Education December highlights

Posted: Dec 15, 2016
Author: Ann Bush

Kansas State Board of Education members during their Tuesday, Dec. 13, meeting learned about enhancements to the Kansas Assessment Program (KAP).

The Kansas State Department of Education, in response to the field, requested that the Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) analyze a sample of 2014-2015 assessment and ACT scores of 10th-grade students to produce a report that correlates with or predicts a likely range of ACT scores.

Kris Kaase, CETE director, and Mary Matthew, director of KAP, addressed board members about the enhancements.

Kaase gave an update on CETE. He said CETE is improving the stability and execution of the summative assessment and has moved up the production schedule to allow more time for quality checks. CETE also is simplifying procedures wherever possible, Kaase said.

CETE identified 16 districts to assist with the KAP enhancement project. Ten of the districts volunteered to participate: Blue Valley, Buhler, El Dorado, Emporia, Gardner Edgerton, Maize, Olathe, Shawnee Mission, Topeka and Wichita. There were 5,369 scores analyzed.

ACT scores range from 1 to 36 in each subject, and there also is an overall composite score. Current ACT benchmarks are:

  • Reading, 22
  • English, 18
  • Math, 22

KAP scores range from 220 to 380, and those ranges are divided into four performance levels - from 1 (lowest) to 4 (highest).

Findings show Kansas assessment scores in English language arts and mathematics align with ACT benchmark scores. Findings also show that 10th-grade students who achieved a KAP performance score of level 3 are likely to meet ACT benchmarks.

CETE plans to analyze data further to include science predictions, as well as composite score predictions. The center also plans to continue to examine grades six through eight predictions.

Scott Myers, director of KSDE’s Teacher Licensure and Accreditation team, gave a mid-year update on the rollout of the Kansas Education Systems Accreditation (KESA) “zero year” training.

Each quarter, TLA staff members provide materials and training to system leaders, who then can utilize the materials and training to prepare their stakeholder teams for the first official year of KESA (2017-2018). 

Beginning in February 2017, there are 10 regional sessions scheduled at 10 different locations - Oakley, Sublette, Hiawatha, Girard, Topeka, Clearwater, Eudora, Salina, Hays and Hutchinson.

On Tuesday afternoon, KSDE’s Kent Reed, an education program consultant for counseling, spoke to the board about the 2016 National Schools of Character. The three Kansas schools that received recognition are Lincoln Elementary (Clay Center Unified School District 379), Valley Center Intermediate (Valley Center USD 262) and Kiowa County Elementary and Junior High School (Greensburg USD 422).

National Schools of Character are schools — early childhood through high school — that have demonstrated through a rigorous evaluation process that character development has had a positive impact on academics, student behavior and school climate, according to character.org.

On Wednesday morning, Reed discussed student suspension and expulsion procedures, data and what districts are doing to ensure students facing disciplinary actions don’t fall behind in school. Dr. Martin Stessman, superintendent for Shawnee Heights USD 450, and staff members from the Center for Restorative Education (CRE) shared how Shawnee County addresses options for suspension and expulsion.

Stessman said more supports are needed in schools, such as rewarding positive behaviors, adding anti-bullying programs and working on school environments to make them more positive.

If a child is suspended or expelled long-term, CRE makes sure students continue to learn. CRE also offers mental health services to students who need them. Stessman said more social workers and counselors are needed for these services.

Kansas Childrens Service League staff members gave some background about CRE. The center was developed in 2003 in response to a growing need to provide educational services to long-term suspended children as a result of zero tolerance policies.

Thirteen years later, the center has expanded. The center serves students in grades six through 12. Often the students have experienced a variety of traumatic experiences and are at risk for out-of-home placement, incarceration and dropping out of school. The components of the program are credit recovery, social skills and case management. The program uses a restorative justice approach to strength-based services and interventions that address the behaviors and conditions related to a student’s academic struggles while maintaining their education and academic credits.

Each classroom at the center has 18 students, one teacher and a paraprofessional. While the center focuses on core classes, such as science, English and social studies, it offers electives. For example, art therapy is considered an art class.

Social workers meet with students on a weekly, sometimes daily, basis.

Students go through a transition plan, and the center follows the student for a minimum of two months.

Teri Garstka, from the University of Kansas, shared information about an evaluation KU did on CRE. She said 220 students went through the program from 2011-2015. Sixty-eight percent were males, and the average age of students was 15 years old. KU’s evaluation shows that for every 100 students in CRE, the benefit to society is $15 million compared to only $6.6 million for 100 suspended/expelled students who have lower graduation rates.

KSDE’s Jay Scott, assistant director of KSDE's Career Standards and Assessment Services, gave the board a presentation on one of the five outcomes that will help measure the success of the vision, Individual Plan of Study focused on career interest.

In September 2016, KSDE surveyed all middle and high schools regarding the level of IPS implementation.

There were 267 school districts that responded to the survey. A majority of the state hasn’t started or has less than one year of the IPS program. About thirty-one percent use the career advocate system model for the IPS implementation process. In this system, people are hired to implement the IPS program. The other models are counselor centered, which means the IPS is implemented by a counselor; career advisor system, which means all school staff members implement the IPS; and hybrid, which is a combination of the above processes. About 28 percent of the districts surveyed are using a hybrid process.

Goals for IPS implementation are:

  • All middle and high schools will have both an IPS product and process in place by the 2017-2018 school year.
  • All middle and high school students will have an IPS in place by the 2018-2019 school year.

In the spring of 2017, the IPS External Advisory group will have meetings and there will be a preferred vendor informational session during a February Career and Technical Education conference. During the summer of 2017, there will be ongoing professional development regarding implementation and there will be an opportunity to sign up for the preferred vendor service. In the fall of 2017, technical professional development related to the preferred vendor product will be provided statewide.

The IPS impact should raise graduation rates and help with higher student success rates in postsecondary/earning an industry-recognized certification and retention.

Board members also:

  • Approved curricular standards for library/information and technology.
  • Received an update on special education direct entry programs.
  • Received first-quarter reports from the Kansas State School for the Blind and the Kansas State School for the Deaf.
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