- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 18, 2016

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas State Board of Education has renewed the accreditation status of all the state’s public schools as well as every private school that participates in the program, regardless of how their students performed on statewide tests.

This is the fourth year in a row that the board automatically renewed those accreditations, the Lawrence Journal-World reported (https://bit.ly/1WCIhy1 ).

The first of the automatic accreditation renewals occurred when the state transitioned to the Common Core standards.

The accreditations were renewed this year because the state is expecting to shift to a new accreditation model that will put less emphasis on annual test scores. Instead, it will focus on a wider range of factors such as students’ college performance or their ability to find jobs after graduation.

But perhaps the biggest change in the new accreditation model is that the state would accredit entire districts rather than individual schools.

The state board has been working toward the change since 2011, shortly after it adopted new curriculum standards known as the Common Core, or the Kansas College and Career Ready Standards.

“We want schools focused on where we’re headed, and not on an old accreditation system that based everything on a test score,” said Brad Neuenswander, deputy education commissioner.

The current accreditation system, based largely on test scores, is known as Quality Performance Accreditation. It was put into state law in 1992 as part of a bill that shifted school funding responsibilities to the state through a per-pupil formula.

The state board will vote on the new model next month.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, https://www.ljworld.com

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