Kentucky Board of Education Subcommittee Begins Work on Statewide Portrait of Learner/Graduate Model – Kentucky Teacher


The Portrait of Learner/Graduate subcommittee of the Kentucky Board of Education (KBE) met for the first time on May 16 begin taking steps to create a vision statement describing what a learner should know and be able to do before graduating from high school.

“As we enter the work of reimagining the learner experience for every child in Kentucky’s public schools, I am thrilled that the Kentucky Board of Education is beginning a deep dive into creating a model at the statewide for a portrait of a learner/graduate,” said KBE Chairman Lu S. Young. “This work will focus on building inclusive community partnerships to strike a new balance between content instruction and academic mastery, with skills and dispositions that will prepare each learner to be innovation-ready graduates and productive citizens of our Commonwealth.

“The subcommittee’s charge is to assess what should be in our portrait of a learner/graduate and how that can support and enhance the profiles that our public school districts have already adopted.”

A die KBE’s current objectives is a desire to “promote the creation of a statewide portrait of a learner/graduate, identifying the knowledge, skills, and dispositions that all Kentucky learners need to become successful citizens” . At its April 20 meeting, the KBE Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee approved the creation of a sub-committee to explore the development of a of a learner/graduate’s status.

The subcommittee includes five members from KBE and other education partners, including a postsecondary education faculty member, a student from the Kentucky Student Voice Team, and four representatives from the Kentucky Coalition for Advancing Education. The four members of the coalition represent parents; business owners and community members; teachers; and school/district administrators.

The first meeting focused on the story of a portrait of the learner/graduate in Kentucky, with the discussion led by David Cook, director of the innovation division of the Kentucky Department of Education (KDE), and Matthew Courtney, Policy Advisor for KDE’s Office of Continuous Improvement and Support.

This effort to build a statewide portrait began in 2017 under then Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt as part of Kentucky’s review of Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) State Plan. Pruitt formed the Educational Innovations Task Force, which recommended pursuing competency-based education – an approach that assesses learning based on a student’s demonstration of understanding.

Pruitt asked KDE’s Innovation Division to implement this recommendation and involve local school districts. The division formed the Kentucky Competency Education and Assessment Consortium (KCEAC), whose vision is to create collaboration among districts committed to a systems approach to competency education and assessment and, with support from KDE, to design and implement an education and skills assessment system. .

Cook and his office opened a bid for districts to apply to the consortium, and two districts — Shelby and Trigg counties — met the evaluation criteria. Both districts already had learner portraits, and both portraits had almost identical key skills. This helped KCEAC create ‘anchoring skills’ which formed the basis of the group’s initial work.

After researching portraits across the country and bringing together teachers from all of Shelby and Trigg counties, the consortium found five anchor skills that nearly all portraits possess: Critical Thinker, Communicator, Independent Learner, Collaborator, and Citizen. engaged.

Prior to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, the consortium had expanded to 11 school districts: Allen, Boone, Corbin Independent, Frankfort Independent, Jefferson, Logan, Mason, Metcalfe, Shelby, Trigg and Trimble.

With the launch of the Local Learning Labs (L3) work last fall, many L3 communities have an interest in continuing to work on their portraits. L3 communities are local, inclusive coalitions that are piloting new approaches to assessment, accountability, and learning. Of the 15 districts participating in Cohort 1 or 2 of the L3 work, nine were members of the consortium.

Cook said that while the wording may be different than what some L3s currently have, conversations with L3s have shown that the statewide model can serve as a guide without detracting from community work already being done.

Subcommittee members offered initial feedback on five anchor competencies and will expand on their recommendations for the statewide model at their next meeting.

The next steps for the subcommittee are to report to KBE’s Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Committee at its regular June 8 meeting.


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