K-PREP middle school reading
The new Kentucky Performance Report for Educational Progress (K-PREP) test results and the Unbridled Learning school accountability scores have now been released. People are asking, “What do these new test scores show? Is the new program really more rigorous? Is it rigorous enough?
Our first blog looked at K-PREP eighth grade math. We found that while the new K-PREP test was more rigorous than the old CATS assessments, the new tests still may not be rigorous enough.
Now, let’s look at the reading picture.
This graph compares the reading proficiency rate reported by the new K-PREP eighth grade test to other test results available for our eighth grade students. Like the math test, this new K-PREP reading test is very important here in Kentucky and across the nation because it is the first test to incorporate the new Common Core State Standards into its development and scoring process.
Notice that K-PREP scoring is definitely lower than the proficiency rate score from last year’s CATS Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT), which indicates K-PREP eighth grade reading is being much more rigorously graded.
Also, unlike the K-PREP eighth grade math test, the K-PREP eighth grade reading test scoring looks more in line with the proficiency rate reported by the EXPLORE test’s Benchmark Score performance, which showed 42.2 percent of Kentucky’s eighth grade students in 2012 on track for solid success in high school and in follow-on college and career activities.
However, the picture becomes more muddled when we look at the most recent National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading performance from one year ago. K-PREP proficiency is more than 10 points higher than the percentage Kentucky’s eighth graders that met the NAEP reading proficiency standard one year earlier in 2011. Usually, at the state level, educational performance does not shift so dramatically in just one year.
So, while the K-PREP eighth grade reading test is certainly more rigorous than the old CATS assessments, it might not be quite rigorous enough, although the picture certainly looks better than the situation for K-PREP math.
We need to mention one more point about K-PREP reading, and this applies at all grade levels. As was the case with the state’s now defunct KIRIS and CATS KCCT assessments, Kentucky’s educators continued to read the new K-PREP assessments to undoubtedly significant, though currently unreported, numbers of our students with learning disabilities in the 2012 K-PREP. This practice inflates all reading scores for Kentucky.
As a consequence of the reading accommodation use in Kentucky, all of Kentucky’s reading scores from the NAEP from 1998 onward are also inflated, though by a somewhat different mechanism. In the case of NAEP, Kentucky’s students with disabilities have been excluded at very high rates compared to most other states because it is not permissible to read this federal assessment to such students. When significantly more students who are, as a group, going to score relatively low get excluded, instead, the resulting score is inflated. This situation is well discussed in other Bluegrass Policy Blog items – search with the term “exclusion” to locate them.
As a note, around 80 percent of the states in this country do not allow state reading assessments to be read to students.