– Prichard’s Blog now helps make the point
I’ve been pointing out for some time that to really understand what is happening under Kentucky’s public school education reform, you have to look at separated data for different student subgroups. That’s true whether we are talking about CATS, the ACT college entrance tests, or the National Assessment of Educational Progress. When you only look at overall average scores, you miss a whole lot of education problems.
Now, some of the posts over at the Prichard Committee’s Blog help make the same point.
For example, in “Kentucky low-income college participation (Ouch!)” Prichard indicates that when you look at college entrance statistics for Kentucky’s poor kids, the numbers don’t look good at all.
In “Students with disabilities disappear,” Prichard’s Susan Weston points out that we are losing a lot of learning disabled kids in our high school. They drop out in alarming numbers before graduation.
In “Achievement gaps by race” Prichard provides, “a painful snapshot of a major Kentucky failure. For our African-American students, we deliver less at every level than we do for our white students, and we are not getting them close to the 100/proficient level we ought to provide.”
That’s precisely the sort of thing we said about minority performance in our recent report on how blacks and whites perform in Jefferson County on the CATS math and reading tests and in high school graduation rates.
The problem here is quite straight-forward. You can’t see the kids being left behind in KERA by looking only at one, overall average score. That’s true whether we are talking about our CATS assessments or the other testing programs commonly used in Kentucky. To really understand what is happening and make real improvements, you need to look at disaggregated data – and hold schools accountable for that data – such as we are forced to do in some areas with No Child Left Behind.
Now, Prichard’s posts are helping make that point clear.