I wrote yesterday about how a correct analysis of the new National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results for Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS) shows that the white minus black achievement gaps in the school district really have remained essentially unchanged.
That was no surprise to us, at least for the eighth graders.
You see, for many years NAEP Grade 8 math and reading performance has closely tracked another testing program given to all eighth grade students in Kentucky: the ACT, Inc.’s EXPLORE test.
We already knew that EXPLORE was showing something else from what JCPS would have us believe.
The graphic below will appear in our forthcoming update to our Blacks Falling Through Gaps series, but I thought we should show it now so we can make our message about the NAEP crystal clear:
Within the measurement errors associated with the NAEP, which only examines a sample of students, there has been no discernable improvement in recent years in the achievement gaps for Jefferson County in the eighth grade in either math or reading.
As you can see in the section of the table titled “White Minus Black Gaps,” the changes in the gaps between 2012 and 2015 all show a small INCREASE in those gaps for all four subjects tested, including both math and reading. These small increases would not be detected by the NAEP accurately, but because EXPLORE is given to all Jefferson County public school students, there is no sampling error in the EXPLORE results. The small increases are real, and they obviously signal a continuing, serious problem.
And, Jefferson County Schools’ trying to fool the public by playing games with the real measurement accuracy available from the NAEP to hide such problems isn’t going to fly.
Sadly, it looks like former Jefferson County academic chief Dewey Hensley got it right in his resignation letter when he charged Jefferson County Schools suffer from a “great deal of time devoted less to developing quality schools for children and more about managing perceptions for adults.”
It’s time for less management of perceptions and more improvement for children in Jefferson County.