In Kentucky’s new Unbridled Learning school accountability program, the East Carter County High School was the lowest scoring Grade 9 to Grade 12 high school to make it into the “Proficient” school accountability classification.
Here are some quick stats for this school:
Oh, Yeah, the proficiency gap for biology for males and females in this school is nearly 12 percentage points, in favor of the females, as well.
But, it gets REALLY interesting when you look at the female minus male proficiency gap in English II. It’s an incredible 32 percentage points! Only 36.8 percent of the males are proficient in English, while 68.8 percent of the females pass in this subject.
This school gets a “Proficient” label even though less than half of its students are proficient in key subjects like math, history and biology! And, Heaven help you if you are a male student.
This is a disturbing example of the problem with the new Unbridled Learning program.
By the way, there is nothing wrong with the tests involved. Both the End-of-Course and ACT college entrance tests are well-coordinated with what students need to do well in postsecondary education.
The problem is the way these basic, and low, proficiency rate statistics get buried by the time East Carter County High’s overall school accountability score of 58.0 is computed.
Notice that East Carter County High’s low academic performance is somewhat balanced out by the school’s graduation rate, which is above state average. However, when only one in four students is passing math and doing well enough to avoid taking a remedial course as soon as they go on to college, you have to wonder how much of that graduation rate is solely due to social promotion.
To be fair – unless someone’s been cheating (I sadly have to mention that after many reports of cheating in schools around the country, and some right here in Kentucky related to sudden rises in test scores) – East Carter High has made notable progress since it was identified as a Persistently Low-Achieving School several years ago.
Still, do you think this is really “Proficient” school performance?
I certainly hope not!