No, we didn’t write this. But in the Herald-Leader’s “Putting schools to the test; Much to like in new system, but shortcomings must be addressed” editorial, the newspaper’s editorial staff admits the new system has them “flummoxed” and the entire program could become “irrelevant.”
Some other things concern the editors, and us –
• The very slow rate of progress that will be acceptable in the future. That uninspiring goal simply will not do.
• Setting goals against Kentucky schools only. The Unbridled Learning cut to earn an overall score of “Proficient” or better as a school was not set against a national standard, but rather is just based on doing better than 70 percent of the other schools in Kentucky. It’s exactly the same sort of problem we had with the now defunct CATS program and even the earlier KIRIS assessments. Performing the final measure of ourselves only against ourselves is short-sighted and very inward-looking – and guaranteed to set the standard too low.
We’ll be working here at the Bluegrass Institute Blog to try and remove some of the Unbridled Learning confusion. That already includes things like our recent blog posts with information that is really important to parents –how the new K-PREP test proficiency rate scores for their child relate to other test products (not yet stringent enough in most subjects).
And, we are developing what is starting to look like a very troubled picture of how the protections for special students and the racial minorities may have been largely destroyed when No Child Left Behind went away, leaving these kids with only the inadequate Unbridled Learning “Gap” calculation to keep pressure on schools to improve.
To be sure, Unbridled Learning is indeed a very complex system. If the editors at one of the state’s leading newspapers are worried about its relevance, this certainly points to problems yet to be resolved.