Work-based learning as option for postsecondary readiness in Kentucky discussed at SCAAC meeting

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Media Contact: Toni Konz Tatman

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Advisory 22-373


Nov. 16, 2022

School Curriculum Assessment Accountability Council Meeting Graphic 11.15.22

Work-based learning as option for postsecondary readiness in Kentucky discussed at SCAAC meeting

(FRANKFORT, KY) – The Kentucky Department of Education’s (KDE’s) School Curriculum, Assessment and Accountability Council (SCAAC) discussed work-based learning as an option for showing students are postsecondary ready in Kentucky’s accountability system during its Nov. 15 regular meeting.

Senate Bill 59 (2022) modified the postsecondary readiness indicator within Kentucky’s accountability system – which signals a student's readiness for the next step in their postsecondary plans – by one of the following indicators:

  • Meeting or exceeding a college readiness benchmark score on the college admissions examination or an examination approved by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education;
  • Achieving three hours of college credit or postsecondary articulated credit by completing a course approved by the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE);
  • Achieving a benchmark score on a nationally recognized exam approved by the KBE that generally qualifies the student for three or more hours of college credit;
  • Completing a required number of hours or achieving a benchmark within an apprenticeship, cooperative or internship that is aligned with a credential or associate degree and approved by the KBE after receiving input from KDE’s Local Superintendents Advisory Council (LSAC); or
  • Achieving any industry-recognized certifications, licensures or credentials, with more weight in accountability for ones identified as high demand. ​

KDE’s Offices of Career and Technical Education and  Assessment and Accountability created a committee with a superintendent, principals and work-based learning coordinators to address the work-based learning indicator. The goal was to develop a new career readiness indicator that is of equal rigor to other existing career readiness options. The committee met in August and October this year.  

 The proposed guidelines created by the committee are not final, and the next steps are to present to the LSAC and then the KBE at its February regular meeting. Once the KBE approves, the guidelines will go into effect immediately.

The committee proposed that:

  • Apprenticeship remains its own career readiness indicator with the established benchmark of achieving the Tech Ready Apprentices for Careers in Kentucky certificate; and
  • Cooperative/internship/experienced-based work become a new career readiness indicator measured by a required number of hours and a minimum letter grade.

Both career and technical education (CTE) pathway students and non-CTE students would be eligible to pursue career readiness through the work-based route by completing a minimum of 300 work hours, said KDE Data Manager Scott U’Sellis. The committee has proposed those hours only be earned during the standard school year and during the standard school week. However, a student may count hours connected to the work experience completed outside of the school day.

“If the student leaves at 1 p.m., and that’s in the calendar for the school, and they work until 7 p.m., they will be eligible to claim all six hours,” he said.

Several SCAAC members inquired about the age restrictions for students completing the indicator and whether freshmen would be able to pursue work-based learning as a postsecondary readiness indicator.

“My students have a hard time finding employment in my county because so many places don’t hire kids under 18,” said Jenny Urie, a teacher representative from Owen County

Martha Emmons, who represents Kentucky employers, said her bike and fitness business often employs students and “some of the best employees who have gone on to be very successful in life have started as freshman.”

“If you have something that requires a lot of training, which our business does, when someone applies who is a junior, we only have two years and it’s hardly worth our time,” she said. “You may not realize the bicycle [industry] is so technical. … For a high school student and the hours they work, there’s hardly time to complete [certifications].”

U’Sellis said the current committee guidelines do not restrict any grade level from completing the work-based option, but it is up to districts, students and employers to come to an agreement that is suitable for all parties.

Assessment and Accountability Updates

Associate Commissioner Rhonda Sims and Division Director Jennifer Stafford, both in KDE’s Office of Assessment and Accountability, gave the council an update on new instructional resources and released items for the Kentucky Summative Assessment (KSA).

Pursuant to state statute KRS 158.6453(13), KDE has released an operational subset of test items from the KSA that may be used to help familiarize test examiners and students with the assessment and item format.

Items include:

  • Items statistics with two tables for each item, one table with Overall Item Performance and one table with Item Breakout Statistics by Answer Choice Option
  • Anchor sets for any short answer or extended response item
  • Annotation form for any short answer or extended response item
  • Qualification sets for any short answer or extended response item
  • Practice sets for any short answer or extended response item

“These items can be utilized in many ways as part of professional learning communities within the schools, as classroom assessments or common assessments across the districts,” Stafford said.  “There’s going to be a lot of data that’s released for use instructionally.”

Items will be released in an online test booklet format. Currently, only social studies and on-demand writing items from spring 2022 assessments are publicly available on KDE’s released items webpage. Other items will be released as completed, said Stafford.

In other business, SCAAC:

  • Received an update on the science assessment blueprint aligned to the Kentucky Academic Standards for Science. The next step is for the Kentucky Board of Education to review the blueprint development process;
  • Heard an update on the status of the Kentucky Academic Standards for Science and Kentucky Academic Standards for Social Studies; and
  • Learned about the Kentucky Portrait of a Learner that recently was approved by the KBE.