Yesterday we posted a link to a video about “What are charter schools, anyway?”
With that question answered, this video tells you why we think we need school choice in Kentucky.
School choice options like charter schools are on a lot of policymakers’ minds right now. And, a bill creating parental choice public schools in Kentucky has been prefiled for the next legislative session.
So, you might think it’s time to learn more about school choice. If so, here is a quick-to-view video that will introduce you to what these school innovations – which soon may be coming to Kentucky – are all about.
It is pretty much taken as fact that boys outscore girls on math. That is true with the new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) math tests, as well. For example, the two bars on the far left of the figure below show that while Kentucky’s fourth grade females had a 34 percent NAEP math proficiency rate, our state’s fourth grade males did notably better with a 39 percent proficiency rate.
But, now take a look at the second group of bars on the right. The first two bars show that on the KCCT math test, female fourth graders were 72 percent proficient while their male counterparts were only 71 percent proficient.
Things are even more dramatic for the eighth grade results. In the NAEP, the boys had a five point advantage, just like boys did in the fourth grade NAEP. But, on the KCCT the girls outshined the boys by four points.
What’s going on with Kentucky’s Tests?
This table adds a bit more information and was used to generate the graph above.
As our testing “gurus” work through the revisions to Kentucky’s testing program that will replace the KCCT, they need to keep this sort of bias information in mind. We don’t want a test that gives an unfair advantage to any student group.
Data Sources Used:
The key to making privatization work is the accountability produced by a clear, quality contract.
Such an agreement allowed Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels to cancel a $1.34 billion contract with IBM Corp. to automate the application process for several supplemental government programs, including food stamps and Medicaid.
The Associated Press reports that Daniels said the company “did not make satisfactory progress to improve services.”
– NCLB implications are significant, especially for minorities
I blogged earlier on how the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) shows scoring of the Kentucky Core Content Test (KCCT) in math has been inflating over time.
Let’s look at how bad that inflation was in the 2009 math tests. We will see that the errors in reporting the true performance of black students for No Child Left Behind (NCLB) are particularly disturbing.
The graph above explores the difference between the 2009 math proficiency rates reported on the KCCT and those reported by the NAEP. I present data for various reporting groupings and grades.
The far left bar, for example, shows that the proficiency rate reported by the KCCT for all fourth grade students was 93 percent higher than the rate NAEP reported, or nearly double the proficiency rate in the NAEP.
In general, for most of the categories in the graph, the graph shows the KCCT math scores are inflated to about twice the NAEP reported figures. That is a pretty significant error.
However, there is one, very notable, exception.
KCCT math proficiency rates for our black students are hugely inflated in 2009.
KCCT inflation has profound implications for the accuracy of the NCLB ratings for schools in 2009 because the KCCT math test is one of the two academic tests used for NCLB reporting.
It looks like many schools may have avoided NCLB sanctions when they actually should have failed because of this student subgroups’ true performance.
As a consequence, more schools than reported probably should have failed to make adequate yearly progress in NCLB overall.
We showed in an earlier blog that constant inflation in KCCT scores has been the trend for some time. Now, we see that inflation is significant for many student groups, but especially so for Kentucky’s ranking student minority.
Details on the graph
Here is how the graph was assembled. The “All Student” fourth grade NAEP proficiency rate in the new NAEP Report Card is listed as 37 percent. In sharp contrast, in the new 2009 Statewide Interim Performance Report shows the KCCT fourth grade math proficiency rate for all students was much higher at 71.33 percent. That KCCT proficiency rate is 93 percent higher than the NAEP rate, as shown in the left-most bar in the graph.
Note that some of the NAEP data used to contruct the graph was assembled using the NAEP Data Explorer Web tool.
– Kentucky Core Content Test scoring in math got easier, again, in 2009
One of the values of the federal National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) is that it can be used as a “ruler” to measure scoring inflation over time in state run assessments.
I developed a tool several years ago to make it easy to detect grading inflation on state tests such as the Kentucky Core Content Tests (KCCT). Here at the Bluegrass Institute, we call this the “NAEP Ruler.” The ruler produces a number we call the “NAEP Rigor Ratio,” which simply shows the relative scoring rigor of state tests versus the federal test.
A NAEP Rigor Ratio near 100 indicates the state test scoring for the grade of “Proficient” in a given year is about the same difficulty as the NAEP “Proficient” score. A number closer to zero indicates that the state test is much more watered down.
The really important thing, however, is whether a state’s NAEP Rigor Ratio stays constant over time. If the Ratio changes, then the state’s scoring is changing in comparison to the very carefully developed NAEP scores. A changing NAEP Rigor Ratio can indicate serious stability problems in state test scoring.
I used the new 2009 NAEP math results for 2009 to develop the two graphs below. These show the KCCT math test’s “NAEP Rigor Ratio,” as measured by our ruler, have been steady declining in recent years.
This has important consequences for the recent No Child Left Behind results for Kentucky. KCCT math is one of the academic tests used to determine if schools have made adequate yearly progress. If the test is getting easier, which it is, then some schools that supposedly passed NCLB in 2009 possibly should have failed, instead.
You can find a brief description of the NAEP Ruler in the freedomkentucky.org Wiki site.
If you want full details, an expanded paper on the NAEP ruler, “CATS in Decline: Federal Yardstick Reveals Kentucky’s Testing Program Continues to Deteriorate,” is also available through the Wiki site here.
The earlier data references are contained in the detailed paper noted above.
The Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions works with Kentuckians, pro-liberty coalitions, grassroots organizations and business owners to advance freedom and prosperity by promoting free-market capitalism, individual liberty and transparent government. Join Us