Skip to main content

Comments on the Nebraska Accountability System for State Board of Education



September 5, 2014




I was honored to present at the State Board of Education meeting today as a panelist representing the NePAS Task Force to bring forth recommendations on the evolving state accountability system. This was an informal exchange with the State Board to update them, and was conversational and informative. I was privileged to be among several speakers, including lead presenter and psychometrician Dr. Chad Buckendahl, State of Nebraska Director of Assessment Valorie Foy, and Dr. Leslie Lukin, LPS Director of Assessment and Evaluation.




While I did not provide the comments below verbatim, I shared the gist of it and these are my thoughts on the evolution of the state's model:



"Good morning, I am here today as one of the delegates representing the NePAS Task Force and the collaborative effort the group has undertaken with assessment experts and under the guidance of Dr. Foy and NDE Assessment personnel to offer recommendations for the accountability model for the state.



One of the main things I want you to know about our Task Force efforts are that we have approached this throughout with earnest and sincere commitment proceeding from an awareness of the profound implications for schools and a desire to improve student learning. To that end, the Task Force anchored its work in guiding principles of accountability beginning with improving outcomes for all students, and doing so through reliance on valid and reliable measures, via a fair process while communicating in language that is easy to understand.



One of the more perplexing issues we have to grapple with is creating an equitable accountability system for the range of sizes and demographics in Nebraska schools. This is a particular challenge, given that we have large and densely populated metropolitan districts and small, sparsely populated rural districts. By relying on the expertise of the assessment gurus who have partnered with us and leveraging the experiential wisdom of the Task Force participants, I think that you are well on your way to creating and refining such a model.



Under the leadership of Valorie and Marilyn, the Task Force typically broke into smaller workgroups that deliberated on key facets for measuring growth and the best means of affirming strengths and identifying areas for improvement – for student populations as a whole as well as subgroups. Our dialogue was always informed by a common strata of baseline knowledge from the psychometrics experts who have assisted us throughout. I believe the process has been appropriately respectful of input from practitioners while working within parameters that are soundly established by policymakers. It has been some of the most meaningful and substantive exchange around student learning and its interpretation that I've had the opportunity to participate in as an educator. The tough decisions certainly are left with Commissioner Blomstedt to make recommendations and for you to collectively determine the best accountability model for our state. I can assure you that the members of the Task Force worked diligently and in a true spirit of collegiality, and we stand ready to continue to assist however you deem best."

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Superintendent’s Coffee Talk for May, 2017

Superintendent’s Coffee Talk for May, 2017
Upcoming dates, events: May 10th Honors Convocation, final HS concerts 5-15, 5-16, commencement is Sunday, May 21st, last student day Mon. May 22nd. (Teachers are on contract for two days following the end of the student year). Seniors are finishing up May 10-11; seniors traditionally finish early.

Thursday, August 17th is the first day of school for the 2017-18 school year. The full calendar is available at https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BzNNwJp2xvrKUTFaZ0RDQVNGY28/view

Commendations: Spring activities success has been tremendous - top-ranked baseball team, quiz bowl state champs, Skills USA and FFA national qualifiers, the list goes on!

Thanks: We are grateful for the tremendous parent volunteerism that made post-prom a huge success and is spearheading another great PTO Fun Run event scheduled for Friday, May 5th.

Foundation: The Norris Foundation will award more than 30K in scholarships to graduating seniors at the May 10th Honors Convocatio…

Human Resources: The Role of the Superintendent: Talking Points for Doane Cadre

Talking Points for Doane Cadre Panel: June, 2015
What is the role of superintendent in the overall design, policies, culture and practices of HR?
Policies need to delineate roles and responsibilities clearly. Practices need to be professional: have a process that gathers multiple inputs & allows district to weight most important candidate characteristics. Practice the practice. Train up on it. Review it, recite it, so you abide by it or you will end up with slippage and quality control problems. Practices need to be both consistent and have an inherent degree of flexibility to capitalize on unique circumstances. Culture of HR should equate to culture of organization- hard to credibly say you are collaborative culture if selection decisions are made unilaterally.
What is your role in working with the Board and staff (such as principals) in implementing HR?
With board members, the most important thing is understanding protocol and for all of us to know and abide by our roles. Staff (pri…

Difficult discussions are opportunities for growth: let's grow together!

Here's some advice for helping ourselves through crucial conversations which we must have, every day, with many others. . . . sometimes planned, often unplanned - and deep in the fourth quarter of a school year, staff tensions, parental conflict or dissatisfaction from a stakeholder may be the impetus for these school-based conversations. They offer great opportunities for personal growth and organizational improvement, so embrace them as such! Here are some reminders to educators for positive and productive outcomes from difficult discussions:
Remember that if someone is talking to you - that is good! They value you, they believe you can help, they believe you have the power to positively assist them. Listen first, then talkRehearse empathy statements (sometimes that's only a "thank you for sharing that" but often it can be more meaningful than that)If you are mad or defensive because you feel accused, count down before responding or wait it out until you realize you…