The Courier-Journal ran an Op-Ed a couple of days ago about “Why teachers embrace Kentucky science standards.” It was written by a teacher from Boyd County.
The article says “Boyd County serves as a model – and hopefully a catalyst – for other district and school leaders.”
If so, we might be in trouble.
Boyd County’s 2014-15 results on the EXPLORE Science test for eighth graders were pretty bad. According to the district’s Kentucky School Report Card (Access all report cards here), in 2014-15 only 9.9 percent of its students scored at or above the EXPLORE Science Benchmark Score that shows students are on track in this area as of that grade. Statewide, the same report shows 15.3 percent of the students reached the EXPLORE Science Benchmark.
Even worse, the school district’s 2011-12 Kentucky School Report Card shows only 12.5 percent of Boyd County’s students met the EXPLORE target in science in that year. So, the district’s already very low EXPLORE scores DROPPED between 2011-12 and 2014-15!
The district did somewhat better in PLAN science (for 10th graders), but the percentage meeting the PLAN Science Benchmark Score in 2014-15 was still only 19.9 percent, two points below the statewide average of 21.9 percent. Of course, those 10th grade students spent a much smaller proportion of their school years in NextGen Science influenced classrooms than the eighth grade students did and thus provide less insight into the performance of the new education programs.
In any event, if I were going to look for advice on how to do science better, I don’t think I’d start with a school system where fewer than one in ten eighth grade students pass muster.