New results from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) science assessment for 2015 have finally been released.
Our blacks certainly are not seeing it
It seems like every time we turn around, someone from Kentucky’s education complex is telling us “We’ve made a lot of progress here in Kentucky” in education.
Well, I am sorry, but that just isn’t what I see in the data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). I just updated some of the numbers, and especially for Kentucky’s major minority population, claiming the state has “made a lot of progress” seems like a cruel deception.
Figure 1 shows the earliest and latest available scores for Kentucky’s black students from the NAEP Grade 4 and Grade 8 reading and math assessments.
The first thing you will note is that there is plenty of “white space” above the latest, 2015 proficiency rates. How can you talk about “a lot of progress” when, as of the latest 2015 NAEP results, Kentucky’s blacks are reporting proficiency rates only around 23 percent and lower?
The truth is that Kentucky has made limited progress over the quarter of a century since the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 was enacted. However, the rate of improvement has been very slow and our black students have a very, very long way to go before they see the kinds of proficiency rates they need.
How long will it take?
Check this table, which is derived from data in Figure 1. This shows the projected time for Kentucky’s black students to reach an 80 percent proficiency rate on the NAEP’s tests.
As you can see, based on Kentucky’s actual, demonstrated progress, it will take the Bluegrass State’s black students 87 years to reach an 80 percent proficiency level on the NAEP Grade 4 Reading Assessment and an astonishing 277 years before our black eighth graders to do the same in reading!
Math doesn’t look much better. Kentucky’s black fourth graders will need 81 more years to reach an 80 percent proficiency rate in NAEP math. For the eighth grade blacks, we are looking at 170 more years to reach that proficiency level!
Now you can better understand why – after more than a quarter of a century of promises from our traditional public school system about improving performance of the state’s minority students – it is way past time for Kentucky to look to other education options. Viable options include school choice with charter schools and even tuition tax credit approaches to make good on a 25+ year promise that has not come true for our minority citizens.
Hot: Update #1
It appears the Collaborative has heard from us. They already posted a correction for their error about the PARCC test being used in Kentucky. So far, however, they are mum about the other concerns I raise in this blog. This is a very strange situation!
(Begin my original blog)
My recent blog, “Where have all the school tests gone?” apparently hit some nerves at the Collaborative for Student Success, a well-known Common Core State Standards (CCSS) cheerleader. They just had to respond, apparently.
But, the Collaborative gets its comments wrong, starting with the article’s graph, which I annotated in the graphic below to make the deficiencies easier to understand.
The Collaborative’s graph starts right out with “Novice” performance (bottom possible score in Kentucky’s assessment programs), including neither a title nor a vertical axis label. The year labels for the KPREP tests in the legend are also inconsistent.
After doing some research that included digging up the real scores, it turns out the graph shows the percentage of Kentucky students who scored Proficient or above on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Grade 4 Reading and Grade 8 Math Assessments in 2015. The graph also includes proficiency rate results (the combined percentage of students scoring Proficient and Distinguished) from Kentucky’s KPREP tests in 2013-14 and 2014-15 for those same grades and subjects.
But, aside from the labeling deficiencies, there is another interesting problem: the KPREP scores are listed backwards. While a casual examination of the graph would make you think the scores increased between 2013-14 and 2014-15, in fact the opposite is true. Kentucky’s KPREP scores for both Grade 4 reading and Grade 8 math DECLINED between those years. That isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement of Common Core.
I don’t know and won’t speculate about whether this was a conscious attempt to mislead, but it certainly isn’t good data presentation.
The graph does highlight something else that the Collaborative would probably not want to admit: Kentucky’s KPREP scores do look inflated compared to the NAEP. That doesn’t agree with the Collaborative blog’s closing comment that:
“States like Kentucky are headed in the right direction by setting expectations high and evaluating progress toward those goals.”
Data the Collaborative cares to share shows Kentucky headed in the opposite direction.
Bluegrass Institute President Jim Waters offered the following prepared testimony supporting making individual public retirees’ benefits transparent at a recent meeting of the Public Pension Oversight Board in the Capitol Annex in Frankfort:
I would like to thank the members of the Public Pension Oversight Board for the invitation to participate in this meeting today.
The Bluegrass Institute is a state-based, nonpartisan, nonprofit research-and-education organization that offers free-market solutions to Kentucky’s greatest challenges based on the principles of economic prosperity, individual liberty, a respect for the lives and properties of others, and limited, transparent and open government.
Since the Bluegrass Institute’s founding 13 years ago, making government at every level – federal, state, county and local – more transparent has been a vital part of our mission.
We’ve found strong support for our efforts on both sides of the political aisle, including from leading policymakers in both parties. Influential Kentuckians from former state Auditor Adam Edelen and former Assistant Attorney General Amye Bensenhaver to legislative leaders, including Sens. Chris McDaniel, Joe Bowen, Jimmy Higdon, Damon Thayer and Rep. Kenny Imes, as well as representatives of Rotary clubs, tea parties and other liberty and good-government groups – have joined with the Bluegrass Institute to work to make government more open across the board, including as such openness relates to local taxing districts, the state Board of Education and legislators’ votes.
Influential Kentuckians from former state Auditor Adam Edelen and former Assistant Attorney General Amye Bensenhaver to legislative leaders, including Sens. Chris McDaniel, Joe Bowen, Jimmy Higdon, Damon Thayer and Rep. Kenny Imes, as well as representatives of Rotary clubs, tea parties and other liberty and good-government groups – have joined with the Bluegrass Institute to work to make government more open across the board, including as such openness relates to local taxing districts, the state Board of Education and legislators’ votes.
While this board has demonstrated strong, ongoing support for shining a brighter light on the retirement systems’ investment fees and practices, we respectfully ask you to expand your strong support for transparency into the largely untouched arena of benefit structures in general, and more specifically, benefits paid to individual retirees and how these benefits were determined.
This school choice round table meets tomorrow, Tuesday October 25, 2016 at 3 pm at:
Midwest Church of Christ
2115 Garland Avenue
Lt. Governor Jenean Hampton
Pastor Jerry Stephenson, Pastor Midwest Church of Christ
Heather Huddleston, Executive Director of School Choice Scholarships
Robert Blair, Former Headmaster at KCD and founder of the West End School
Richard Innes, Bluegrass Institute Education Analyst
Dr. Gary Houchens, Bluegrass Institute Board of Scholars Member
Phil Moffett, State Representative
Shenita Rickman, Candidate for State Senate
Check it out, and find out how many centuries it will take for Kentucky’s black students to reach an 80 percent proficiency rate on the National Assessment of Educational Progress Grade 8 reading and math assessments. You will be astonished!
As Kentucky and other states continue using the Common Core State Standards for K to 12 education, it has never been more important to have accurate trend information from valid and reliable assessments to evaluate whether these controversial standards are really working for our kids.
But, almost all testing trend lines of use in Kentucky from ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE, PLAN and COMPASS to even the nationwide data from the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ (NAEP) “Long Term Trend” assessments (LTT) have been severed.
How convenient for Common Core supporters who might be worried about what those discontinued tests might reveal.
How BAD for our kids.