Kentucky’s public education system continues to face a number of problems, but one of the most serious problems involves the state’s chronic white minus black achievement gaps. We previously examined long term gap trends from the National Assessment of Educational Progress and the EXPLORE and PLAN tests from ACT, Inc. Today, we’ll look at test results from Kentucky’s statewide 11th grade testing using the ACT college entrance test. As with EXPLORE and PLAN, ACT data disaggregated by race is only available from 2012, so we have three years of data from this assessment where the scores are broken out by race.
The first graph is for ACT English results. The white minus black score gap grew on this assessment between 2011-2012 and 2013-14.
Don’t forget, unlike the situation with the NAEP, Kentucky tests all eleventh grade students with the ACT. There are no sampling errors in the scores above, and though the changes are small, this is a real deterioration in gap performance.
Click the “Read more” link to see the results for other subjects.
Next is ACT math.
Here again, blacks fell further behind even though their actual proficiency rate did increase very slightly.
Here is what happened in ACT Reading.
The gap grew in this subject, too.
Science is the last individual area where ACT reports scores.
In this case, the white minus black achievement gap remained flat between 2011-12 and 2013-14.
Finally, as with EXPLORE and PLAN, the ACT reports a Composite Score (an average of all the above).
As would be expected, the overall gap grew here, as well.
Keep in mind, the ACT college entrance test and is certainly a useful indicator of whether or not kids are on track for college and careers. Except, our black kids are lagging behind.
This is no way to deliver on promises made a quarter of a century ago that “All kids can learn, and most at high levels.”
Thus, just as we saw from the NAEP, the series of tests from the ACT, Inc. pretty much universally show blacks are being left behind in Kentucky. They are making some small progress, but it isn’t nearly good enough to even maintain place with whites, who are progressing much faster.
So, the ACT testing message is as clear as the NAEP’s. It is time for our state leaders to move beyond selfish adult interest lobbying and finally do something for Kentucky’s kids, first.
We need school choices for parents that will turn the results in the graphs above around. It’s past time to deliver on the promises of KERA, and the continued failure of the traditional public school system to deliver shows it is going to take some fresh ideas to make that happen.
Tomorrow, we’ll look at a summary of the trends from Kentucky’s own KPREP tests. The message won’t change, unfortunately, but stay tuned.
Data Source Technical Note: All ACT scores were obtained from the Kentucky School Report Cards. Click on the “Data Sets Button” and then Click the appropriate year. Next, click ACT under the Assessment section. Repeat for other years.