K-PREP social studies
We’ve been writing about the new Kentucky Performance Report for Educational Progress (K-PREP) test results and the Unbridled Learning school accountability scores. People are asking, “What do these new test scores show? Is the new program really more rigorous? Is it rigorous enough?
Our first three blogs looked at K-PREP eighth grade math and reading and seventh grade science. We found that while the new K-PREP tests in math and reading are more rigorous than the old CATS assessments, the new tests still may not be rigorous enough, with the picture looking somewhat better for reading than math. It is also obvious that the K-PREP middle school science tests are just warmed over versions of the old CATS assessments, including the same inflated scoring compared to scores from more credible tests like the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and the ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE.
Now, let’s look at K-PREP social studies. Unlike the math and reading K-PREP tests, the K-PREP social studies tests have not been written to new national standards for a very simple reason – no such standards currently exist.
Unfortunately, there are no comparison test results from either the NAEP or EXPLORE, etc. that cover the social studies area. So, this graph is different from the ones we viewed in earlier blogs. Instead, this graph compares the social studies proficiency rates for all three school levels, elementary, middle and high school, for the new K-PREP social studies tests and the old CATS Kentucky Core Content Tests in social studies.
As you can see, there is a very consistent pattern. Essentially, the K-PREP social studies tests have returned virtually identical proficiency rate scores to those from the last year of CATS Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) testing.
We have no way to determine if these new K-PREP scores for social studies are inflated, but we now definitely know that the K-PREP social studies scores are not different from the KCCT tests. Since the inflated science K-PREP (see the #3 blog in this series) and the social studies results are not significantly different from the old KCCT tests, the overall impact on school scores in K-PREP is not as significant as earlier reports from the Kentucky Department of Education suggested.
By the way, this blending of data for different school levels provides a nice segue into our next section of blogs, which will look at specific comparison data for elementary schools.