– 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.