What does Kentucky’s new 5-star rating system for schools mean?

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This year’s Kentucky school rating system looks a lot different than in previous years. Here’s how the state says the new star-based accountability system works:

Beginning this year, with the release of 2018-2019 school year data, the new system will provide an overall rating for each Kentucky public school ranging from 1 (the lowest) to 5 (the highest) stars.

Kentucky schools are held accountable for student assessment results in all core subjects (reading, mathematics, science, social studies and writing), improving the English language proficiency of English learners, student growth from the previous year in reading and mathematics for elementary and middle schools, and graduation and career or college transition readiness at high schools.

Schools can earn 1- to 5-star ratings in multiple ways. Here’s an example at the high school level that the Kentucky Department of Education provided: High School 1 and High School 2 received a 5-star rating. The proficiency rate is very high for both schools. However, a separate academic indicator is very high for one school and medium for the other. The transition readiness to college and career is high in one and very high the other. The graduation rate is medium vs. very high. Although their performance is different,the overall scores fall within the range of a five-star rating for both schools.

Accountability for 2018-2019 is based on student performance on state assessments, the ACT college entrance exam at the high school level, as well as selective school quality indicators.

For elementary and middle schools those indicators are proficiency in reading and mathematics; separate academic performance in science, social studies and writing; growth in reading and mathematics; and proficiency and English attainment for English learners only.

For high schools, those indicators are proficiency in ACT reading and mathematics scores, separate academic scores in science and writing, graduation (four- and five-year rates) and transition readiness to college and career including ACT, college placement exams, dual credit, Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, industry certificates, career and technical education end-of program exams, apprenticeship, exceptional work experience, and the ACCESS test for English learners.

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