Before we get into comparisons of the data between Kentucky and elsewhere on the just-released 2016 high school graduates’ ACT scores, I need to point out again why it’s important to break the data out by race when you compare relative state-to-state performance in education, ACT scores most definitely included.
To explain why you have to look at the disaggregated scores, let’s look at the brand new, 2016 high school graduates’ ACT Composite Scores for Kentucky and charter-school rich Louisiana.
The table below summarizes the data. The data sources are the ACT, Inc.’s 2016 Profile Reports for Kentucky and Louisiana.
Because these profile reports come directly from ACT, the data include graduates from all school types in each state – public, private and homeschool combined. However, the results probably match the public school results fairly closely.
First, look at the top line in the table, which shows the “All Students” data. This shows that there was a total of 50,809 high school graduates tested in Kentucky in 2016 and a fairly identical total of 48,692 graduates who tested in Louisiana. Other information found on Pages 14 and 15 in the “Condition of College & Career Readiness 2016, Nation” report shows that both states tested 100 percent of their graduates in 2016. This means comparisons between the two states are reasonable.
The table also reveals that Kentucky’s average ACT Composite Score for “all students” (actually all 2016 graduates) was 20.0 while Louisiana’s was lower at 19.5.
So, Kentucky did better than Louisiana…Right?
Take a look at the rest of the rows in the table, which show what happens when we disaggregate the scores by race.
Very simply, Louisiana outscores Kentucky for every racial group except Asians, and the score difference for Asians really isn’t notable.
Now which state looks like it is performing better for its students?
This is why I object in this day and age about many reports we are still getting in Kentucky that only list overall “all students” scores. Those reports do not provide solid information about how Kentucky is really doing. In fact, those reports just inflate our state’s real educational performance.
We won’t make that mistake here, and we will now look at more state comparisons in our next blogs.