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.
In Parts 1 and 2 of this blog series we examined the trends in eighth grade reading and math from the KPREP, the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and also the ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE tests.
Now, let’s look at the fourth grade reading results from NAEP and KPREP. Unfortunately, there is no comparable ACT test for the fourth grade for the EXPLORE test.
Because NAEP did no testing in 2011-12, we again need to average the 2010-11 and 2012-13 scores from the NAEP to interpolate a score for the 2011-12 year. Rounded to the nearest percent, that works out to a NAEP reading proficiency rate interpolation of 36 percent. With that NAEP estimate in hand, notice that when KPREP started out in the 2011-12 school year, it already showed about 11 percentage points higher fourth grade reading proficiency than the NAEP reported in a similar timeframe.
Flash forward to the most recent results, and the difference in proficiency rates reported by the NAEP and KPREP for fourth grade reading is now about 12 points. Again, the exact amount is subject to uncertainty because of the sampling error in the NAEP scores that we have already discussed in earlier blogs.
Thus, for this grade and subject, the best we can safely determine from the NAEP is that KPREP has consistently over-reported reading proficiency rates for our elementary school students. However, unlike the eighth grade situations in reading and math, there has not been clearly detectable growth in the already somewhat inflated numbers for fourth grade reading.