On Sunday, March 11, 2012, the Prichard Committee’s Blog weighed in about Kentucky’s nation-leading exclusion of students with learning disabilities in the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading assessments.
Unfortunately, Prichard’s blog glossed over the exclusion problem, claiming, “Kentucky’s recent record of relative NAEP success does not, in fact, evaporate when exclusion rates are considered.”
I hoped Prichard would add more to their story. I even contacted them by phone on March 14th to encourage that. You see, they won’t post my comments in their blog.
So far – no updates.
So, I’ll add the rest of the story here, starting with the well-known reason why Kentucky excludes so many kids from NAEP reading. This involves a long-time Kentucky testing policy that allowed the state’s reading assessments to be read to a surprisingly large proportion of our students with learning disabilities. That’s right – many Kentucky kids had the so-called CATS and earlier KIRIS ‘reading assessments’ read to them. It was all ‘legal’ so long as the learning disabled student’s Individual Education Plan (IEP) called for this testing accommodation.
Over the past two decades, Kentucky’s policy probably led to some very unfortunate consequences for many special education students. We don’t know if these special students can read. There simply is no evidence from the state assessment program to show if their schools expended any effort to try to teach them to read, either.
This testing policy also is the major reason why Kentucky’s exclusion rates on both the fourth and eighth grade NAEP reading assessments were the highest in the nation in 2011. You see, the NAEP tests real reading skills. When learning disabled kids had conflicting IEPs that would not allow a real test of reading, those students got excluded from the NAEP reading assessments.
Sadly, Prichard’s blog doesn’t tell you why Kentucky has nation-leading rates of exclusion of learning disabled children on the NAEP reading assessments. The blog merely says Kentucky is doing something different from other states in reading. Prichard does not admit that the major difference between Kentucky and other states with much lower NAEP exclusion rates is that the Bluegrass State has not been testing many of its learning disabled students for reading skills at all.
There is still more to the story. Click the “Read more” link to see that.