We’ve written many times in the past about deceptive reporting in Jefferson County’s “Every1Reads” program such as here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and even here, way back in 2008.
The issue: the Jefferson County school system – in an attempt to grossly inflate its true performance on teaching students to read – created really “dumbed-down” statistics for its Every1Reads program. Those home-grown statistics implied many Jefferson County students were doing just fine and “reading at grade level.”
In truth Jefferson County’s Every1Reads statistics claimed success for any student that scored above “Novice” on Kentucky’s now defunct, very undemanding CATS reading assessments. As a result of this deception (the Kentucky Board of Education, which controls state testing, never claimed scoring above Novice was reading at grade level), Jefferson County’s citizens were regularly told that astronomically high percentages of their students – on the order of 90 percent – were “reading at grade level,” implying all was well.
The truth is that even today very low proportions of Jefferson County students actually read proficiently. This fact became brutally clear when the school district began to participate in the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ (NAEP) Trial Urban District Assessments in reading in 2009. Only 30 percent of the district’s fourth grade students and just 26 percent of the eighth graders met the NAEP standard for proficiency. Two years later, the district’s proficiency rates on 2011 NAEP testing scarcely improved. The fourth graders were only 34 percent proficient and the eighth graders were just 27 percent proficient.
Flash forward to the present and it appears the Every1Reads statistical deception is creating really unfortunate consequences. Finally facing up to the stark reality from both the NAEP and now Kentucky’s new K-PREP testing, the district is scrambling to find more Every1Reads volunteers. However, a Courier-Journal article, “JCPS rallies to raise elementary reading scores; search for mentors comes up short,” says the district wanted 1,500 volunteers for the Every1Reads program but only got 600.
That’s what happens when you mislead the public about performance. After feeding its citizens a lot of inflated nonsense for years, this shortage of volunteers was just about inevitable.
Sadly, many Jefferson County students who really can’t read are the ones suffering, not the education system adults who tried to claim otherwise.
So, in the interests of the children, I’ll add my support for the call for Every1Reads volunteers. Volunteers have always been badly needed even if the Jefferson County School District wasn’t honest enough to admit that before.