December 26, 2013

Denise Kahler, Director of Communications, 785-296-4876

For Immediate Release



Kansas State Board of Education December Meeting Highlights


TOPEKA – The Kansas State Board of Education voted during its December meeting on the future assessment plan for Kansas. The board approved the recommendation of the Kansas College & Career Ready Assessment Advisory Council (KCCRAAC) to require students in grades 3-8 take the approved state assessment, while providing those at the high school level the option to select the assessment most meaningful to the student’s individual plan of study.  Citing budgeting concerns and a desire for greater state control, the board, however, voted against the council’s recommendation to adopt the Smarter Balanced assessment for Kansas, opting instead to contract with the University of Kansas Center for Educational Testing and Evaluation (CETE) to develop the state’s assessment.


The board’s decision removes Kansas from the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC), of which it was a governing member. Kansas students who were scheduled to participate in the SBAC field test this coming spring, will instead take the CETE-developed Transitional Assessment in Math and English language arts along with the rest of Kansas students. The board’s plan calls for CETE to use the transitional assessment as the basis for the development of the final state assessment, which will be enhanced for 2014-2015 and each subsequent year to provide a high quality assessment that is fully aligned to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards and is meaningful to educators and students.


The CETE-developed assessment will be adaptive and have technology enhanced items, along with constructed response questions. Kansas educators will have greater input into the test design and reporting formats of this assessment.


In other actions, the board voted to adopt proposed Kansas Handwriting Curricular Standards. The board requested these model standards be developed believing that cursive handwriting as a student skill stills holds an important place in the instructional practice of every school’s curriculum, particularly in light of the increasing use of digital technology. The ability to write legibly and read handwriting and cursive remains an important part of basic literacy. 


The board also voted to adopt new English Language Proficiency (ELP) Standards that were presented for review in November. The new standards more closely align to the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards for English language arts, mathematics and science – ensuring that the developing language needs of English Language Learners (ELL) are met and all ELLs receive the rigorous and systematic education they need to be college and career ready upon graduation from high school.


Proposed revisions to Kansas Curricular Standards for Theatre were also presented to the board for review. The board will be asked to vote in January whether to adopt these revised standards.


Dialogue continues on proposed changes to the state’s teacher licensure requirements as a result of challenges within the state’s current reporting requirements for criminal activity. Currently, only those educators hired as of 2002 are required to submit fingerprints to KSDE for use with the Kansas Bureau of Investigation RapBack program. RapBack is a service of the Kansas Central Repository that permits an agency to receive immediate notification when there is activity in the criminal history record of an individual of interest to the agency. The proposed changes would require all teachers in Kansas hired prior to 2002 to submit fingerprints upon licensure renewal. KSDE is continuing to confer with other agencies to develop a final recommendation for the board’s review.


KSDE Assistant Director Jay Scott presented an update on a study required under 2012 Senate Bill 155 regarding the use of Individual Plans of Study (IPS) for every Kansas student in Grades 8-12. An IPS is a multi-year educational plan for high school and post-secondary education based on the student’s career interest. The bill requires that “the State BOE shall conduct a study of the implementation of requiring each district to maintain an individual career plan of study (IPS) for each pupil enrolled in the district in grades 8 through 12…report the findings to the legislature and whether the State BOE intends to initiate

implementing such requirements by January 15, 2014.” Scott and his staff will report back to the board in January with information on the number of districts to date that have implemented the use of IPSs. The board will determine whether the use of IPSs will be approved as part of the state’s new accreditation model that is currently in development.


2013 Milken Award Winner Brad LeDuc, an art teacher at Washburn Rural High School, presented the board with a look at some of the innovative art programs taking place at the high school, including Art Geek of the Week and the school’s Annual Art All Night Lock-In. LeDuc is credited with the development of WRHS’s advanced placement studio art class. As a Milken Award Winner, LeDuc received an unrestricted cash award of $25,000.


The next meeting of the Kansas State Board of Education will take place January 14-15 in Room 102 (Board Room) of the Landon State Office Building.