NAEP shows Kentucky’s eighth graders aren’t making ANY!
Quite frankly, I was shocked.
With all the hype this week about Kentucky being the only state to show reading progress in both fourth and eighth grade in the new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Reading Assessment results, I thought I could show you a graph that would project when we could expect to reach a 90 percent rate of reading proficiency for our eighth grade students.
Well, forget that.
You don’t have enough paper, or computer screen area, to print that out. What I found is that our rate of progress in teaching reading at the eighth grade level is so slow that at our current rate:
How can this be? Read on.
Look at this graph. It plots the percentage of Kentucky’s eighth grade students that scored at or above the NAEP “Proficient” level by year since the NAEP started reporting that information in 1998. The data comes straight from Table A-19 in the new 2009 NAEP Reading Report Card.
I used a standard statistical process called linear regression analysis to determine the formula for the best fit straight line that matches this data. The slope of that line rounded to three significant digits is only 0.0263. This is almost a perfectly flat line (This updated number adjusts a number in an earlier post to reflect use with a percentage point scale instead of a straight decimal proportion scale).
So, the NAEP data implies Kentucky averaged only a tiny, 0.0263 percentage point improvement in its proficiency rate each year between 1998 and 2009. It will take several thousand years at this miniscule rate of progress for us to get anywhere close to the kind of reading performance our eighth grade students need.
It gets worse.
Table A-19 in the NAEP report card also identifies proficiency rates for earlier years that are significantly different from the new, 2009 proficiency rate of 33 percent.
For Kentucky, only the 2007 rate is listed as statistically significantly different from the 2009 rate.
You haven’t been reading about that elsewhere, either. But, the truth is right there in the NAEP report, buried where even the US Secretary of Education apparently missed it.
So, here’s the bottom line for Kentucky:
All that progress we supposedly made in NAEP reading – it didn’t happen in eighth grade. Since 1998 we have made NO statistically significant improvement in our NAEP eighth grade reading performance.
By the way, this further supports my earlier post about the eighth grade scores where I looked at the results from Kentucky’s performance on the EXPLORE test for reading.
EXPLORE also showed flat performance even when the NAEP showed a five point jump up from 2007 to 2009.
Here’s another thought. Could it be that the statistical sampling errors in the NAEP are actually much larger than officially reported? That is a national issue I will be asking about.