I wrote several days ago about generally growing achievement gaps for Kentucky’s black students in the new 2014 Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (KPREP) testing. KPREP is Kentucky’s three-year old assessment program, and the math and reading KPREP tests are Common Core aligned.
The gaps between white and black proficiency rates on KPREP reading and math for students in elementary, middle and high schools generally increased between 2013 and 2014. The only exceptions were for middle school reading and high school math, where very small reductions in the gaps occurred.
Aside from KPREP, we can look at more test information for Kentucky. This comes from other tests that most definitely are college-ready aligned, namely the ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE and PLAN tests. EXPLORE and PLAN are given to all Kentucky eighth and 10th grade students, respectively.
As with the KPREP, in most cases (5 out of 8 shown in the table below), the achievement gaps got worse. We don’t want the gap in the percentage of students meeting the EXPLORE and PLAN Benchmark Scores to increase, but that happened in a majority of the cases shown in the table.
This is particularly disturbing because, unlike the relatively new KPREP, Kentucky has used EXPLORE and PLAN since the 2006-07 school term. Unfortunately, the EXPLORE and PLAN results were not made publicly available by race until 2013, but there has been adequate time for teachers and students to adjust to these tests and for gaps to start decreasing – if black students were being educated effectively. That, unfortunately, does not seem to be happening, on average, and it is clearly time for our education system to start aggressively looking at other ideas like charter schools that are proving particularly effective for students of color.