I’ve been blogging about some of the statistics in Kentucky since KERA was enacted.
I started with a discussion of the huge increase in education revenue that resulted from KERA-induced higher taxes.
Today, let’s look at how Kentucky’s ACT Composite Scores from this well-known college entrance test compare to the education revenue collected when KERA was starting versus today.
By the way, I know that someone is going to point out that not as many students took the ACT in 1990 as in 2008. They will claim that could impact the data in the graph. It could, a little, However, you might be surprised to learn that the difference in the proportion of Kentucky public school graduates taking the ACT over this time really isn’t that great.
I estimate in 1990 that 57.6 percent of Kentucky’s public school graduates took the ACT, while in 2008 the exact percentage (not an estimate) was 64.2 percent, which is not that much higher (Learn how I made this estimation by clicking the “Read more” link below). This relatively small change isn’t likely to be an adequate explanation for the very sharp efficiency drop shown in the graph.
The bottom line here is that just as happened with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, we have to spend a lot more today for each point of performance on the ACT Composite Score our kids get. That isn’t efficient.
I don’t have the full data on the 1990 ACT for public school students, but I do have complete data from 1993 and later for several different breakouts of ACT performance, including public school scores and participation numbers only. You can find that here.
I used the 1993 data to estimate the missing 1990 data as follows.
From the known total number of 1990 ACT tested graduates in Kentucky, which included all students, I subtracted the number of non-public school graduates that are known for the class of 1993. I estimated this is a reasonable approximation of the private school participation in 1990 as well as 1993 because the non-public school graduate numbers were fairly stable in the time period from 1993 to 1996.
The results are summarized in this table.
In 2009 public school participation on the ACT became mandatory for all Kentucky public school students. That 100 percent participation rate created a sharp break with Kentucky’s past ACT trend line, and that is why I only ran my analysis of ACT performance from 1990 to 2008.
Total Revenue: Kentucky Department of Education, Office of District Support Services, Division of Financial Data Management, Calculations & Reporting Branch, Receipts and Expenditures Reports for listed years. On line here.
ACT Scores: The ACT, Incorporated. Older data not on line, obtained from paper records.
Kentucky Graduations: KDE paper records for 1990. From Transition to Adult Life, Table 3a, in 2009 Non-Academic Briefing Packet from KDE for 1993 and 2008
Overall ACT Participation in 1990: KDE News Release 07-067, on line here.