The two tables below were assembled from tools in the National Center for Education Statistics’ NAEP web site. They don’t tell a good tale for Kentucky public education.
Generally, after allowing for the statistical sampling error in NAEP, the state’s scores remained flat though the drops in several cases were probably right on the edge of being statistically significant. In no case was there any improvement.
The worst cases are for NAEP Grade 4 and Grade 8 reading. In Grade 4 NAEP reports that Kentucky suffered a 4-point scale score decline between 2015 and 2017, one of the largest declines of any state and large enough to be statistically significant, as well.
In Grade 8 reading the state saw a reported decline of 3 scale score points, though this was not quite large enough to overcome the statistical sampling error in the scores. Still, this was one of the largest declines of any state.
By the way, you can click on the table if necessary to enlarge it.
The next table tells the story for mathematics.
Things don’t look much better here. In Grade 4 NAEP math Kentucky’s students again posted a 3-point decline, which wasn’t quite large enough to be statistically significant, but still is one of the poorer performance trends for all the states.
In Grade 8 math, Kentucky’s score change rounds to less than one point, which is about as flat a performance as you can get.
So, there was a definite decline in the state’s NAEP Grade 4 Reading score and statistically flat, but likely a small decline, in performance elsewhere except for Grade 8 math where there was no change.
But, that Grade 8 Math situation is nothing to crow about. The 2017 NAEP Data Explorer results show the Bluegrass State’s percentage of students scoring at or above Proficient was only 29 percent, not statistically significantly different from the 28 percent figure for 2015 and clearly a dismal performance after 27 years of KERA education efforts and over half a decade of Common Core math as well.
Once again, unfortunately, I have to couch these results with a caution that there is controversy about the accuracy of the 2017 NAEP due to issues surrounding the transition to digital testing. While those running the NAEP claim the results are solid, there has been public discussion about the possibility that state-level scores might have problems. We might not know the real story for years.