It’s not happening after nearly 30 years of KERA
I am seeing claims on Twitter – from some – that many Kentucky teachers are great at teaching reading, but the reality is that results from credible testing point to another conclusion.
Here is a quick breakdown of the percentages of Kentucky’s students who perform at desired levels for reading on the ACT college entrance test and on the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP).
As you can see, whether we are talking about the NAEP or the ACT, not even half of Kentucky’s students perform at a desired level on reading.
When we consider the state’s black students’ performance on reading, the picture is FAR worse.
Clearly, there is a problem with reading instruction in Kentucky. And, after reading an ever-growing list of reports and articles pointing to teachers not being properly prepared to teach reading, such as those I’ve talked about here, here and here, I don’t think we can blame this on the students.
Kentucky reflects a nationwide problem – many teachers were never taught how to teach reading properly.
But, we can do better. Mississippi, for one example, is showing us that retraining teachers to properly instruct reading can pay notable dividends IF we are smart enough to admit we do have a problem and move out to address it. One way to start is to pass a literacy bill similar to the 2013 legislation that passed in Mississippi. Legislators tried to do this last year, but the bill went nowhere when problem deniers tore it apart.
But, so long as we have folks claiming many teachers do know how to teach reading in Kentucky, our kids will continue to face less than 50 – 50 odds of real reading success.
And, don’t forget, that after the fourth grade, we expect kids to be able to read to learn. So, those that can’t read well are eventually going to suffer in a lot more subjects than just reading.
Tech Data: The NAEP scores come from the NAEP Data Explorer and the ACT data comes from the Kentucky Department of Education’s 2018-2019 COLLEGE_ADMISSIONS_EXAM Excel spreadsheet.