I did a little of my own research after posting a blog earlier today about two school districts that were questioning data in their 2009 No Child Left Behind Reports (NCLB). Instead of looking at district level data, I looked at the counts statewide for students tested under NCLB for reading in 2008 and 2009. The table shows what I found.
Most of the changes from 2008 to 2009 don’t look out of line, but there are two exceptions – the students with learning disabilities, and the students with limited English proficiency. Both groups showed very large one-year increases.
Most definitely, the increase in the count of students with learning disabilities looks out of line. This 11,000 plus jump in one year looks highly unreasonable.
Even worse, an increase that large can’t be due to one or two school districts having bad data. This must be spread out over more districts, maybe all of them.
The limited English proficiency number increase in one year of 1,443 students isn’t a big increase by itself even though on a percentage basis it is indeed a very large jump. However, the increase in the two groups that are likely to create this increase, the Hispanic and Asian students, in total was only 1,213 students. Where, exactly, did the other 230 limited English proficient kids come from? Whites? Not likely.
So, it looks like the Kentucky Department of Education may indeed have some problems. In fact, there may be some massive problems that could impact many schools that either did, or did not fail NCLB due to learning disabled kids who may not even exist.
This, indeed, is getting interesting.