This is the third blog in this series comparing Kentucky’s performance on the NAEP to other states.
I provided some cautions in the first blog, which had Grade 4 reading results, about why comparisons of state performances with the National Assessment of Educational Progress using all student average scores ignores major differences in student demographics across different states and just winds up comparing scores for lots of white students in Kentucky to scores for minority students elsewhere. The picture that results is thus misleading.
I also pointed out that comparisons need to consider the statistical sampling errors in all NAEP scores.
So, the maps I am assembling in this series, which looks at only white students, honors those demographic and sampling error concerns.
Let’s see what the mapping tools in the NAEP Data Explorer web tool show us about NAEP Grade 8 Reading.
Figure 1 shows how the state stacked up in 2017.
As you can see from the summary at the top, a whopping 33 states plus the DC schools (a total of 34 jurisdictions) had white student scores statistically significantly higher than Kentucky’s white student NAEP Grade 8 reading Scale Score of 268.
Thanks to those statistical sampling errors, Kentucky was in a tie with 15 states and statistically significantly outscored just one state.
Again, data from the Department of Defense Schools (DS), whose circle is shown in gray, is not included.
Now, let’s see what happened in the new, 2019 NAEP. Figure 2 tells that story, the only somewhat happy story in this series.
In spite of the fact that Kentucky’s NAEP Grade 8 Reading score dropped from 268 to 266 between 2017 and 2019, it looks like there were bigger declines in other states. Thus, Kentucky’s white eight grade students were only outscored by their racial counterparts in 26 states in 2019, down from the 35 states that outscored us in 2017. And, now one more state scored statistically significantly lower than Kentucky did, as well. Still, it is clear that Kentucky remains tied with a lot of states, 23 of them, and somewhere below the median state in the rankings.
So, it isn’t so much that we moved up but that other states moved down even more.