The new KPREP results for the 2017 test administration are now loaded in the Kentucky School Report Cards Database, so I took a look at how the latest elementary school level achievement gaps for white minus black proficiency rates in math and reading look.
The simple answer to my question is: very disappointing.
In fact, for elementary school blacks, their reading proficiency rate as of 2017 has now sunk below the level for the state’s students with learning disabilities. That’s just not acceptable.
Figure 1 shows the white and black proficiency rates on KPREP Reading for elementary school grades from the first administration at the end of the 2011-12 school term up to the latest results. There is some bad news in Figure 1.
First of all, the reading proficiency rate (combined percentage of students scoring either proficient or distinguished) declined between 2016 and 2017 for both whites and blacks. In addition, the black reading proficiency rate seemed to hit a plateau in 2014. After 2016 blacks came off that plateau, but heading in the wrong direction. This is particularly bad news for the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts, which cover the subject of reading, of course.
We won’t know until next year if the slump in the elementary school reading picture is due to a one-year glitch or the start of a disturbing trend, but the flatness to decline since 2014 in black reading scores for this school level is very disconcerting.
The gap picture for reading in the elementary school grades looks even more disappointing. Despite the white score decline between 2016 and 2017, the black score dropped even more between those two years. Thus, the 2017 proficiency rate achievement gap of 27.3 points is the largest posted since KPREP testing started.
Worse still, the elementary school white minus black reading proficiency rate gap steadily increased every year since 2012.
The elementary school math picture is similarly disturbing, as Figure 2 shows.
Once again, both white and black elementary school students faltered on KPREP math in 2017.
As with reading, a notable flattening of math proficiency rate progress for blacks also occurred after 2014. Then, the black math proficiency rate dumped in 2017 to the lowest level since 2013.
The gaps have almost continually grown, as well. Except for a small improvement in 2015, which was quickly erased, the white minus black math proficiency rate on KPREP has steadily grown.
One more thing. The slide in Figure 3 was part of a presentation to the Kentucky Board of Education at the October 4, 2017 meeting.
If you look closely, you will see that in 2017 the elementary school reading proficiency rate for Kentucky’s African-American students slipped below the level for the students with learning disabilities. That is simply unacceptable.
At this point it is becoming apparent that Common Core isn’t keeping its promise to black students in Kentucky.
Overall, the elementary school results in 2017 for the key subjects of math and reading are a notable disappointment, too.
This certainly isn’t what we were promised when Common Core was adopted in 2010 in Kentucky.
All scores in Figures 1 and 2 came from the Kentucky School Report Cards for the state for the years listed.
The specific data came from the Data Sets section, ASSESSMENT_KPREP_LEVEL link.
Kentucky Department of Education briefers indicate their graph, which appears as Figure 3, used the same data source.