Kentucky has completed its fourth year of testing with the Common Core State Standards aligned Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (KPREP) tests in reading and mathematics. It is time to start asking whether or not Kentucky’s new tests are showing signs of inflation. This post closes out our examination of this important concern with a look at the KPREP trends in fourth grade math versus Kentucky’s trends on the National Assessment of Educational progress (NAEP).
First, to briefly review, in Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series we examined the trends in eighth grade reading and math from the KPREP, the NAEP and also the ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE tests. Part 3 only looked at the fourth grade reading results from NAEP and KPREP because there is no comparable ACT test for the fourth grade similar to the EXPLORE test. We found there is considerable cause for concern with inflation in the KPREP eighth grade reading results and somewhat less concern about eighth grade math. As of 2015 the difference in reported proficiency rates between KPREP and the other tests for eighth grade is at least 12 percentage points. Part 3 shows there isn’t a detectable problem at this time with inflation in the KPREP fourth grade reading results but the KPREP has consistently reported more than 10 percent higher reading proficiency rates than the NAEP shows.
Now, let’s complete this blog set with a look at Kentucky’s fourth grade math results.
Notice that here, just as we found in the eighth grade reading situation, there has been rather notable inflation in the KPREP fourth grade math scores over time. The KPREP and NAEP started out reporting essentially equal reading proficiency rates around 2011-12, but the disparity quickly increased to become a 9 point differential by 2014-15.
Essentially, given the sampling error in its scores, the NAEP indicates there has been no notable improvement in Kentucky’s fourth grade math performance since 2010-11. The picture presented by the KPREP is obviously much different. Furthermore, the difference in the 2014-15 scores for both tests is so large that even the sampling error in the NAEP scores (again, those are about plus or minus a 3-point amount) cannot hide this problem.