New scores from the ACT, Incorporated’s EXPLORE and PLAN tests are out. The Herald-Leader covered some of the general stuff, already, though the paper may be making too much of an apples to oranges comparison by stacking up our 2009-10 scores to outdated national average scores posted half a decade ago.
The good news overall is that we are seeing a small amount of progress, which is exactly what Senate Bill 130 from 2006 intended as the EXPLORE and PLAN tests are aimied at getting our kids better prepared for college. Still, there is a long way to go, and there is at least one troubling area the newspaper didn’t cover.
That problem area is the unfortunate growth in performance gaps between Kentucky’s white and black students on the PLAN tests.
As you can see in the graph, the white minus black PLAN score gaps grew between the 2006-07 and 2009-10 school years for every area except reading. While the growth of the gaps has been small, growth isn’t what we want.
Another interesting thing in the graph above is that the science gaps are much smaller than gaps in the other subjects. Could this be an indication that even Kentucky whites under-perform in this area? Do our blacks engage better with science courses?
More research is clearly needed on that, because there could be a clue here that will help with the other subjects, as well. Certainly, with the gaps large and growing larger, such help is badly needed.