Two years ago, before the demise of our old Blog, I wrote about a dubious “Policy Notes #23” release from the Kentucky Long Term Policy Research Center (KLTPRC). The KLTPRC was making a pretty squirrely analysis of some data, trying to evaluate KERA by ranking some of Kentucky’s education data against other states.
One of my favorite examples from that analysis was when the KLTPRC had the audacity to include a ranking of Kentucky’s dropout rates less than half a year after those rates had been officially audited by the Kentucky Auditor of Public Accounts and found to have considerable errors.
The KLTPRC also audaciously ranked Kentucky’s ACT college entrance scores against all the other 50 states. I knew this was bogus and even checked with the ACT, Inc. to see what they had to say about such rankings. The ACT people actively discourage such rankings because ACT participation rates vary dramatically from state to state.
But, never mind. When you want to puff up our education system, pesky little issues like gross misuse of ACT scores and blithe ranking of known bad data don’t matter.
Well, after the legislature just threw out our CATS assessment for cause, I guess we need to be told to feel good about Kentucky’s education again, because here comes the KLTPRC once again with Policy Notes #27.
Most of the same old problems still exist in this new report, right down to the misuse of the ACT and the same bogus dropout rate numbers.
This new report does use somewhat later data for some of the individual statistics (not all, though – when current data is not available, this research crowd has no problem going back in time, sometimes as far back as 2005, to come up with numbers to make us look good).
There was even a new twist. The proficiency rate for 4th grade reading on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) wasn’t 34 percent in 2007, it was 33 percent. Is this just a typo, or did that error slip into the KLTPRC’s actual calculations? I don’t know.
I can’t even access the list of sources used in this latest report as the link isn’t working, either.
I suppose that is about par for this course.
Anyway, I wrote a pretty extensive critique of the problems I saw in that earlier KLTPRC report. Here is the latest version written about 9 months after Policy Notes #23 was released. With very little change, I could reissue it to cover Policy Notes #27, but why bother?