A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

2014 Report Card shows Kentucky schools are ‘making progress,’ state education chief says

Christina Lucuta helps senior Chelsea Wright create a photo slideshow in iMovie during Lucuta's computer applications class at Eminence High School  in Eminence. (Photo by Amy Wallot)

Christina Lucuta helps senior Chelsea Wright create a photo slideshow in iMovie during Lucuta’s computer applications class at Eminence High School in Eminence. (KDE photo by Amy Wallot)




Student performance, college/career-readiness and the number of students graduating from high school are all improving, according to data released today by the Kentucky Department of Education.

Overall student performance showed improvement from 2013 with the percentage of proficient and distinguished students increasing in most subjects at every grade level; students in groups that have historically had achievement gaps also are performing at higher levels across multiple content areas and grade levels.

Additionally in 2014, the college/career readiness rate jumped to 62.3 percent – up from 54.1 percent last year and 47.2 percent in 2012. The four-year graduation rate is up as well – from 86.1 percent in 2012-13 to 87.4 percent in the 2013-14 school year.

The state exceeded its 2014 accountability goal of 65.3 with an overall score of 68.7 out of 100. A total of 641 schools and 95 districts are performing at the highest levels – classified as either proficient or distinguished, while 860 schools and 79 districts met the requirements to be considered progressing.

“The numbers show, without a doubt, that we are making progress,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “The gains we are seeing are the result of a lot of hard work by our teachers, administrators, and our students with the support of parents, community members and our education partners – they all share in this good news.”

This is the third year the state has reported results from Kentucky’s Unbridled Learning for All Assessment and Accountability System.

1 report card



The Unbridled Learning: College/Career-Readiness Accountability model is based on the Kentucky Board of Education’s strategic priorities: Next-Generation Learners, Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support, and Next-Generation Professionals. In the past, accountability has been based only on the components of the Next-Generation Learners measure. In the 2013-14 school year, accountability expanded to include the Next-Generation Instructional Programs and Support measure and the Program Review component. In future years, the last measure, Next-Generation Professionals, will be added to accountability.

Various component scores in each area are calculated and weighted to produce an overall score for that measure.

This year, as in the past, public schools and districts earned points, on a scale of 0 to 100, based on how well they did on the five Next-Generation Learner components:

Achievement – student performance on tests in reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing

Gap – performance (percentage of proficient and distinguished) of students who are members of traditionally underperforming groups (ethnic minorities, special education, poverty and limited English proficiency) compared to the goal of 100 percent proficiency in all five subject areas

Growth – individual student’s score compared to the student’s academic peers to determine if typical or higher levels of growth have occurred in reading and mathematics

College/Career-Readiness – high school graduates who successfully meet an indicator of readiness for college and/or careers

Graduation Rate – the percentage of on-time graduates as measured by a Four-Year Adjusted Cohort Formula

1 scores2

This year, schools also received points (on a scale of 0-12) for Program Reviews in Arts and Humanities, Practical Living and Career Studies and Writing. Mandated by Senate Bill 1 in 2009, Program Reviews are an ongoing, year-round process where school personnel assess the characteristics of an instructional program on four standards: Curriculum/Instruction, Formative/Summative Assessment, Professional Development and Administrative/Leadership.

Program Reviews are designed to ensure schools offer quality learning opportunities in each of the program areas. Although 2014 is the first year Program Review scores are included in accountability, data was collected in 2013 and a baseline established.

While individual measures and components within those measures may be compared from year to year, the overall accountability score cannot be since it is based on different measures.

Schools are rank-ordered by overall score and by level – elementary, middle or high. Districts are rank ordered without dividing by level. Based on their percentile rankings, schools and districts are placed in one of three classifications:

Distinguished – At or above the 90th percentile
Proficient – 70th to 89th percentile
Needs Improvement – Below the 70th percentile

For 2014, specific overall scores associated with percentiles are:

Elementary: Proficient 69.4; Distinguished 75.1; School of Distinction 77.9
Middle: Proficient 66.8; Distinguished 71.9; School of Distinction 73.5
High: Proficient 70.1; Distinguished 75.5; School of Distinction 77.5
District: Proficient 67.5; Distinguished 71.9; District of Distinction 73.7

1 scores

To promote continuous improvement, each school/district has an Annual Measureable Objective that it must meet – for the 2013-14 school year the AMO was a one point improvement in the overall score. A school/district also must meet its annual graduation goals and test at least 95 percent of its students in every student group.

Schools and districts are placed in rewards or assistance categories based on overall score and other data.

School/district rewards categories are:
• School/District of Distinction
o meets its current year AMO, student participation rate and graduation rate goal
o has a graduation rate above 60 percent for the prior two years
o scores at the 95th percentile or higher on the overall score
o for a district – does not have a school categorized as a Focus School or Priority School

• High-Performing School/District
o meets its current year AMO, student participation rate and graduation rate goal
o has a graduation rate above 60 percent for the prior two years
o scores between the 90th and 94th percentile on the overall score
o for a district – does not have any schools categorized as Focus Schools or Priority Schools

• High-Progress School/District
A Title I or Non-Title I school that:
o Meets its current year AMO, student participation rate and graduation goal
o Has a graduation rate above 60 percent for the prior two years
o Has an improvement score indicating the school is in the top 10 percent of improvement for all non-Title I elementary, middle, or high schools as determined by the difference in the most recent calculations of the overall score

1 scores3

A district that:
o Meets its current year AMO, student participation rate and graduation goal
o Has a graduation rate above 60 percent for the prior two years
o Has an improvement score indicating that the district is in the top 10 percent improvement of all districts as determined by the difference in the two most recent calculations of the overall score

High Progress Schools/Districts may have a second Rewards or Assistance classification: Distinction, High Performing, Priority, or Focus.

School/district assistance categories are:

• Priority School – a school that has been identified as a “persistently low achieving (PLA)” school as defined by Kentucky Revised Statute KRS 160:346

• Focus School
o has a non-duplicated student gap group score in the bottom 10 percent of non-duplicated student gap group scores for all elementary, middle and high schools
o has an individual student subgroup within assessment grade by level with a score in the third deviation below the state average for all students
o has a graduation rate that has been less than 60 percent for two consecutive years

• Focus District
o has a non-duplicated student gap group score in the bottom 10 percent of non-duplicated student gap group scores for all districts. Focus Districts are identified annually based on data.

It is possible for a Proficient or Distinguished school or district that would otherwise be in rewards to be a Focus School or District if it has a large achievement gap.

Schools previously identified remain in their assistance status for a minimum of two consecutive years over which time they must demonstrate sustained improvement to exit.

Accountability Components



1 scores4

Overall student performance on the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) improved in 2014. At the elementary level, the strongest gains were in reading, mathematics, science and writing on-demand. At the middle school level, the percentage of students performing at the Proficient/Distinguished levels increased in all content areas – including an almost five point gain in mathematics – except language mechanics. High Schools also made gains in mathematics, science and social studies.

In 2010, Kentucky was the first state to adopt more rigorous common standards known as the Kentucky Core Academic Standards (KCAS) in English/language arts and mathematics. The standards are aligned with college expectations and set the minimum for what students should know and be able to do by the end of each grade. Kentucky implemented the KCAS in the 2011-12 school year with students first tested on the new standards in spring 2012.

Public school students in grades 3-8 take K-PREP tests in reading, mathematics, science, social studies, writing and language mechanics. Their performance is categorized as novice, apprentice, proficient or distinguished.

The assessments for science and social studies in grades 3-8 are based on students in the Kentucky Core Content for Assessment 4.1, which was last revised in 2006.

High school students take K-PREP tests in writing and language mechanics plus end-of-course assessments in English II, Algebra II, Biology and U.S. History.


Kentucky’s goal is 100 percent proficiency for all students. The distance from the goal or gap is measured by creating a Student Gap Group – an overall count of student groups that have historically had achievement gaps. Student groups combined in the overall count include ethnicity/race (African American, Hispanic, Native American), special education, poverty (free/reduced-price meal) and limited English proficiency.

1 aa

To calculate the combined Student Gap Group, non-duplicated counts of students who score proficient or higher and are in any of the student groups are added together, with no student counting more than one time and all students included in the groups being counted once.


The growth category uses a Student Growth Percentile, comparing an individual student’s score to the student’s academic peers. It recognizes schools and districts for the percentage of students showing typical or higher levels of growth in reading and mathematics tests in grades 3-8. At high school, the same model of recognizing student performance uses the ACT PLAN (grade 10) and ACT (grade 11) composite scores in reading and mathematics for comparison. Points are awarded for the percentage of students showing typical or higher growth rate, which is defined as being in the 40th percentile. Because of the statistical basis of the Student Growth Percentile, statewide, the percentage of students scoring at the typical or higher level will be consistent from year to year at approximately 60 percent. At the individual school level, students scoring at typical or higher levels range from 14 percent to 89 percent.

Graduation Rate

A four-year adjusted cohort graduation rate is used to determine whether a school/district met its Graduation Rate goal. Beginning in 2013-14, the Graduation component (20 percent at the high school level) of Next Generation Learners is based on a five-year adjusted cohort graduation rate. Both rates are figured similarly: the formula takes the number of students in a high school freshman class and then accounting for those students who move in and out of the system, looks at how many students get a diploma four or five years later.


The cornerstone of the Unbridled Learning Accountability model is college/career- readiness.

Since 2011, the college/career-readiness rate among Kentucky high school graduates has skyrocketed from 38 percent to 62.3 percent in 2014 – up 8.2 percentage points in just the past year. That translates into 11,500 more students graduating from high school over the past four years ready to enter college or postsecondary career training programs without having to take expensive remedial courses for which they do not earn credit.

1 aaaw

• College-Ready – graduates who met the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) System-wide Benchmarks for Reading (20), English (18), and Mathematics (19) on any administration of the ACT; also students who passed a college placement test like ACT COMPASS or Kentucky Online Testing (KYOTE).

• Career-Ready – graduates who met benchmarks for Career-Ready Academic – Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) or ACT WorkKeys; and Career-Ready Technical – Kentucky Occupational Skills Standards Assessment (KOSSA) or received an Industry-Recognized Career Certificate. Graduates that have met both career-ready benchmarks are included in each respective column, which could result in the same student being counted in multiple columns.

• College and Career Non-Duplicated Total Count – includes only individual graduates who received a high school diploma or certificate of attainment and are college-ready or career-ready. Graduates with a diploma could have met both college-ready and career-ready benchmarks. Graduates with a certificate of attainment must have met the readiness standards on the Alternate K-PREP assessment Transition Attainment (TAR). This is not a total of the college-ready and career-ready columns.

• Accountability Points with Bonus – includes percentage of graduates college- and/or career-ready plus half-point bonus for graduates meeting both college-ready and career-ready technical benchmarks.

ACT Data (public school juniors)


High school juniors taking the ACT exam in the spring of 2014 recorded the highest scores since all juniors started taking the test in 2008, as mandated by KRS 158.6453. Scores, on a 1 to 36 scale, were up in every content area — English, mathematics, reading and science – as was the composite score. The cost of the exam is paid for with state funds.

Additionally, the percentage of students meeting Kentucky Council on Postsecondary ACT benchmarks continues to increase. This means those students are college/career-ready and guaranteed entrance to a credit-bearing entry-level course in that subject at a state-run university without the need for remediation.

For more details, including the data broken down by student group, visit the School Report Card on the Kentucky Department of Education’s website. These electronic report cards provide a wealth of information about each school and district including test performance, teacher qualifications, student safety, parent involvement and much more.

From KDE

Related Posts

Leave a Comment