This first graph shows the percentages of white and African-American students who scored “Proficient” or more on Kentucky’s new CCSS-aligned Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) math tests. The data comes from Page 92 in the revised, 24 September 2013 edition of the “Commonwealth of Kentucky, State Report Card, 2012-2013 Academic Year” PDF document. You can access that report by going to the home web page for the statewide school report card. Next, click on the State Report Card’s “View Card” button. Now, click on the link that says “Printer Friendly Report Card (PDF).”
Notice that the scores increased for both whites and African-Americans, but the achievement gap also increased as whites outpaced the lower rate of improvement of children of color.
While proficiency rate data for individual student groups is basically ignored by Kentucky’s new Unbridled Learning school accountability program, our waiver from No Child Left Behind requires the state to continue to report on how individual racial groups perform against Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) targets like those from No Child.
Page 92 in the new report card indicates that for white elementary school math, the AMO proficiency rate target is 48.8 percent and for African-Americans it is 30.2 percent. Clearly, neither racial group in Kentucky met its math AMO target in elementary schools in 2013.
Things definitely went worse for middle school math, as the next graph shows. White scores scarcely budged, while African-Americans lost ground. Furthermore, neither racial group met its math AMO target in 2013. The white AMO target was 49.2 percent proficiency and African-Americans were to reach at least 28.2 percent proficiency. After well over two decades of promises from the Kentucky Education Reform Act of 1990 – and more recently from CCSS – that things would get better, this is troublingly low performance.
Furthermore, Kentucky’s white minus African American middle school math proficiency gap also increased.
By far, the most disturbing K-PREP math performance is found in Kentucky’s high schools. Both whites and African-Americans saw notable declines in their proficiency rates between 2012 and 2013.
Amazingly, despite the very disturbing white proficiency rate decline, the African-Americans fell even further behind by 0.1 percentage point.
Of course, neither race met the AMO target, either.
To be sure, two years of testing data does not provide much of a trend line, and I’d like to see a few more years of data before making hard and fast decisions.
On the other hand, it is normal for scores to rise in the second year of a new testing program. The fact that this didn’t happen in high schools for either racial group is problematic.
One last point: As with the reading results, no-one can cite the new K-PREP math performance in Kentucky’s totally traditional public school system (charters are illegal in Kentucky) as an excuse not to finally create charter school alternatives to help our struggling students. If anything, the new K-PREP data shows our educators need charter schools in their tool kit to help turn the growing gaps and missed AMO pictures around.