The results from the 2019 administration of the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) tests in Grades 4 and 8 reading and mathematics are out, and I am just starting to dig into the voluminous data that is now posted in the online NAEP Data Explorer web tool (which is the data source for the graph shown below).
In this blog I look at both the NAEP and Kentucky’s own KPREP test results for the overall average performance for all public school students from the 2012-13 school term to the new results for 2018-19 in Grade 8 Reading. Note that KPREP is given annually, but the NAEP is only given every other year.
As you can see, in the case of Grade 8 reading proficiency, the NAEP and the KPREP are telling us a very different story. According to KPREP, the state’s reading proficiency for eighth graders improved notably from 52.4% in 2012-13 to 62.6% in the new 2018-19 results. And, yes, the 5-point decline in NAEP reading proficiency between 2012-13 and 2018-19 is statistically significant.
This data tells a multiply sad tale. First, despite lots of promises from the Common Core State Standards folks about how things were going to improve, that isn’t what happened in reading in Kentucky’s middle schools.
Second, it looks like the KPREP middle school reading tests, at least in the eighth grade, have been giving us inflated information, headed in the wrong direction, about what was really going on. If you refer back to my earlier blog about the fourth grade NAEP reading results, you will see those NAEP scores also showed a decline between 2014-15 and 2018-19 while the KPREP Grade 4 reading scores increased a bit. The message isn’t as dramatic in the fourth grade data, but it still raises some concerns about what KPREP is telling us. Those concerns are certainly raised more strongly by the eighth grade data above.
Keep in mind: KPREP reading figures into each middle school’s accountability star rating. So, this might mean some schools got more stars than they deserved.
Also, considering that the NAEP indicates KPREP Grade 8 reading proficiency is overstated in 2018-19 by a whopping 29.6 percentage points and given that the ASSESSMENT_PROFICIENCY_GRADE Excel spreadsheet from the School Report Cards Data Sets for 2018-19, shows a total of 49,834 students were tested for Grade 8 reading in this school term, the discrepancy means about 14,750 Kentucky eight grade students were told they were on track in reading when they apparently were not. That is a serious problem.
I have more coming in a few minutes, so check back soon.