Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

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Senate Bill 175 Goes the Wrong Direction on Ensuring Kentucky Students are College and Career Ready

Senate Bill 175 is up for consideration tomorrow before the House Education Committee, having already passed the Senate on February 25th

The legislation mainly makes changes and clarifications to Kentucky’s accountability model enacted by Senate Bill 1 in 2017.  This includes changes to indicators on which schools will be measured and how schools will be identified for targeted support and improvement – including Kentucky’s definitions for “postsecondary readiness.”

The legislation would rename “postsecondary readiness” as “transition readiness” and reduce the requirements a student would have to meet.  It would also require no separation between college or career readiness, opting for a single category for transition readiness.

CURRENT REQUIREMENTS – POSTSECONDARY READINESS – ACADEMIC

SB 175 PROPOSED REQUIREMENTS – TRANSITION READINESS

Benchmark score in three subject areas on the college admissions exam (ACT)

Benchmark score in one subject area on college admissions exam (ACT)

Completing 6 hours of dual credit with a grade of B or higher.

Completing 3 hours of college or postsecondary articulated credit.

Benchmark scores on two AP, IB, or CAI exams

Benchmark score on one AP, IB or CAI exams.

CURRENT REQUIREMENTS – POSTSECONDARY READINESS – CAREER

Benchmark score in one subject area on college placement exam that qualifies for placement in a credit-bearing course.

Achieving industry-recognized certifications, licensures or credentials.

Completing hours in an apprenticeship, cooperative or internship that leads to a credential.

Completing 6 hours of CTE dual credit with a grade of B or higher.

Achieving industry-recognized certifications, licensures or credentials.

Benchmark on CTE end-of-program assessment.

 

Completing an apprenticeship

 

Completing verifiable exceptional work experience.

 

 

Since the passing of Senate Bill 1 in 2009, Kentucky has had a clear focus on helping ensure students are ready for their next step after high school, be it college or career focused.  And while we have made progress, still too many students leave high school without evidence of real readiness for college and career. 

Data from 2017 reveals this problem. 90% of students graduating in that year did so within four years, while only 59% graduated college or career ready within four years.

It is hard to see how these new transition readiness indicators will help remedy that critical issue.  Reducing the requirements from what is currently in place will send the wrong signal to school, districts, parents and students about the need to push harder to achieve more at the high school level.  Specifically, having to meet the benchmark in only one subject on college admissions or placement exams moves Kentucky away from the higher standard we have maintained for nearly a decade. 

Kentucky has been looked to as a leader in this area over the last decade, including for our commitment to collaboration between higher education and K-12 in aligning standards and expectations. It is clear from the discussion on Senate Bill 175 that a renewed focus – and perhaps debate- is necessary regarding our definitions of “postsecondary readiness”. 

With this in mind, we urge the General Assembly to maintain the current indicators while requiring that the Kentucky Department of Education, the Council on Postsecondary Education, and the Education and Workforce Cabinet convene a working group to include – at a minimum – educators, business leaders, and postsecondary faculty and admissions officials to make recommendation regarding transition readiness indicators to the General Assembly by December 1, 2019. 

 

Since 1983, the Prichard Committee has worked to study priority issues, inform the public and policy makers about best practices and engage citizens, business leaders, families, students, and other stakeholders in a shared mission to move Kentucky to the top tier of all states for education excellence and equity for all children, from their earliest years through postsecondary education.