Even monkeys get it!
This message could pertain to the current effort to revise Kentucky’s school accountability system. You see, right now, there are draft proposals for different schools to have different elements in their accountability calculation. That won’t create a fair and uniform system.
For example, one of the proposed achievement gap calculations would use the highest reported scores from among all the racial groups in the school as the target for comparison to scores for other races (See Page 15 in the draft of regulation 703 KAR 5:270).
In some of Kentucky’s schools – perhaps 10 percent or so – that target group would be Asian students. In most Kentucky schools, white student scores would shape the target. That could create some dramatic differences in gap results.
For example, the extract below from the 2015-2016 Kentucky School Report Card for the North Laurel Middle School, where exactly 10 Asian students – the minimum number required to report scores – took math, shows the gaps can vary dramatically when this approach is used.
You see, North Laurel’s Asians scored 100% proficient or more, but the whites scored only 52.8 percent proficient. If just one fewer Asian student had attended the school, the target would be based on white student performance, a group with only 52.8 percent math proficiency. If the new system were used with an Asian enrollment of 10 students, North Laurel’s target racial group for gap scores would have nearly twice that proficiency rate – 100 percent – and the gaps would be enormous for whites, blacks, Hispanics, and any other races with reportable results.
That would create non-comparable results to most other schools, of course. Furthermore, the results could bounce around dramatically in a school like North Laurel Middle from year to year if subgroup enrollment moves above and below 10 students for the reference group or any other group.
Depending upon how the scoring works out for the new accountability system (right now, nobody knows how this will look, by the way), one school might get the grape, the other only cucumber even though both would look exactly the same if only one, uniform calculation was used to create both schools’ accountability scores.
Let’s not monkey around with non-uniform measures in our new accountability system. Let’s make that system uniform because Kentuckians want fair and equitable comparisons between schools. After all, even monkeys know it’s wrong when they get cucumber instead of grapes.