Council on Postsecondary Education
KENTUCKY’S HIGHER ED ACCOUNTABILITY SYSTEM RECOGNIZED AS BEST PRACTICE, SAYS NATIONAL REPORT
An independent think tank in Washington, D.C. has recognized Kentucky as being among the nation’s ten best practice states for its higher education accountability system.
Education Sector, a nonprofit that promotes education reform, released the results of a comprehensive and detailed analysis of higher education accountability systems in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Its report, “Ready to Assemble: Grading State Higher Education Accountability Systems,” was released last week and graded states in 21 categories of accountability on a three-level scale—best practice, in progress and needs improvement.
The analysis not only focused on the types and quality of information states collect on a wide range of student outcomes and institutional practices, but on how well states use the information to drive policy and funding decisions, as well as the efforts they make to proactively publicize the information so that is accessible to students, parents, policymakers, media and the general public.
“It is indeed an honor for Kentucky to be ranked among the top 10 states in this national report card,” stated Gov. Steve Beshear. “This positive recognition reflects wells on Kentucky’s efforts to measure and monitor performance as we strive to build a highly competitive 21st century economy and a higher quality of life for our citizens.”
The Council on Postsecondary Education has statutory responsibility for developing an accountability system related to the system’s strategic agenda by evaluating its performance and effectiveness.
Bob King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, added, “We are delighted that Kentucky has been recognized as a best practice state for the breadth, accuracy and strength of its accountability system. We commend our public and independent campus representatives who have helped shape our accountability system into a balanced reporting mechanism that will help guide us toward Kentucky’s future success.”
While Kentucky has made progress in many of the data measures tracked by its accountability system, the report noted that Kentucky needs to improve its educational attainment levels. The report also noted that “smart, effective higher education accountability systems” are necessary to give all students the best possible postsecondary education.
In addition to Kentucky, states earning best practice designation for their accountability systems include California, Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, Oregon, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and Wisconsin. Twenty-six states earned grades of “in progress,” while 15 earned a “needs improvement” rating.
Kentucky received high marks in the report for its “robust” statewide strategic plan. Additionally, the report cited other strengths of Kentucky’s higher education accountability system listed below:
- Gathering information on a wide breadth of performance measures.
- Separating data by important socioeconomic factors such as race/ethnicity, gender, income, first-generation status, transfer students, etc.
- Aligning state priorities with concrete goals for achievement.
- Proactively informing prospective students, parents, and the general public about the performance of state colleges and universities.
- Tracking the transition of students from high school to college through its “High School Feedback Reports.”
Two areas of improvement for Kentucky were noted. The first was the need to compare data across time and/or against peers and the second suggestion was to formally link budgetary decisions to the performance of state postsecondary institutions.
The Education Sector report, as well as individual state report cards, can be accessed at http://www.educationsector.org/research/research_show.htm?doc_id=934393
Kentucky’s accountability report, the centerpiece of the state’s accountability system, can be viewed at http://apps.cpe.ky.gov/reports/AccountabilityReport0708final.pdf