Vol. 6 No. 1 (2011): School Audits and School Improvement: Exploring the Variance Point Concept in Kentucky's... Schools
As a diagnostic intervention (Bowles, Churchill, Effrat, & McDermott, 2002) for schools failing to meet school improvement goals, Ken-tucky used a scholastic audit process based on nine standards and 88 associated indicators called the Standards and Indicators for School Improvement (SISI). Schools are rated on a scale of 1–4 on each indicator, with a score of 3 considered as fully functional (Kentucky De-partment of Education [KDE], 2002). As part of enacting the legislation, KDE was required to also audit a random sample of schools that did meet school improvement goals; thereby identifying practices present in improving schools that are not present in those failing to improve. These practices were referred to as variance points, and were reported to school leaders annually. Variance points have differed from year to year, and the methodology used by KDE was unclear. Moreover, variance points were reported for all schools without differentiating based upon the level of school (elementary, middle, or high). In this study, we established a transparent methodology for variance point determination that differentiates between elementary, middle, and high schools.