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 all the graphs shown below).
In this first 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 4 reading. Note that KPREP is given annually, but the NAEP is only given every other year.
As you can see, KPREP tells us Kentucky’s reading performance increased from 48.8% proficiency to 53.0% proficiency in this time period. However, the 2018-19 school term’s KPREP proficiency rate isn’t really much different from the rates since 2014-15 except for a dip that occurred in 2016-17.
But, the NAEP paints a different picture. The NAEP Data Explorer shows that 35% proficiency rate for the 2018-19 school term (actually 2019 NAEP testing) is statistically significantly lower than the rate in for the 2014-15 term (actually the 2015 NAEP test results). The 2019 NAEP rate is not statistically significantly different from rates in 2017 or 2013.
So, as of the present, Kentucky’s fourth grade reading performance is no better than it was in 2013, the year after Common Core State Standard tests were introduced in Kentucky. There has been no discernable progress in fourth grade reading in Kentucky in more than half a decade, virtually the entire period that Kentucky’s teachers had to pay attention to the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts, which cover reading.
That flat performance message is not the message we are getting from KPREP, as well. In fact, for the 2018-19 school term, the difference in proficiency rates reported by NAEP and KPREP has now grown to 18 percentage points. Given that the state says it tested 51,184 fourth grade students for reading in 2019 per the ASSESSMENT_PROFICIENCY_GRADE Excel spreadsheet from the School Report Cards Data Sets for 2018-19, an error of 18% equates to over 9,000 Kentucky Grade 4 students who were told they were doing fine in reading when they apparently were not.
And, as the NAEP data above shows, over the past seven years reading in general in Kentucky’s fourth grade classrooms really hasn’t gone anywhere while scarcely more than one in three students is doing well.
Stay tuned, because there is a ton of data I need to work through, and I am waiting for more information from the ACT, as well.