As this set of tables shows, scoring gaps increased (though supposedly by statistically insignificant amounts) for Kentucky’s whites and African-Americans in reading in both the fourth and eighth grade and in math in the fourth grade. The gap essentially stayed flat in eighth grade math, as well (the one-point drop is not statistically significant).
The worst NAEP situation over the past two years was for fourth grade reading. African-American scores dropped rather dramatically by 6 points from 210 in 2011 to just 204 in 2013. That drop misses being statistical significance by only 0.08 point.
Based on the NAEP’s 500-point scoring scale, the gaps shown above are really big. They probably represent something on the order of two years less education for Kentucky’s African-Americans. Thus, the message from the NAEP is clear. After nearly a quarter of a century of promises from our educators that KERA and follow-on reforms would fix these gaps, nothing is happening. It now is time for Kentucky to explore better options, and school choice is certainly one of those possibilities.