Saturday, January 31, 2009

Achievement gaps by race

Here's 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.

I can't graph a long-term trend because we made major testing changes in 1999 and in 2007 that mean results really are not comparable.

However, I will note that from 1999 to 2006, the gap narrowed at the elementary level, stayed roughly the same for middle schools, and expanded for high schools. Both groups improved over those years, but where we wanted to see African-American students improving with extra speed, we only saw that at the elementary level.

This hurts. It hurts our children, and it hurts our shared future. As a commonwealth, we have to find the strength and implement the strategies that will produce success for students from all backgrounds.

(For readers who are not already immersed in Kentucky testing terms, the two previous posts summarize the Academic Index and the student performance levels behind the Index itself.)


  1. Responding to blogs is something I have stayed away from because the topics I am interested in generally gets very little feedback (i.e., no comments on this topic). However, someone has to do it, right. The lack of data over an extended period of time to provide trend data is unexceptable to me. The topic of minority/poor student achievement has been a major topic in the development of KERA. Since this is the most devastating issues in the Commonwealth's education system, why has adequate data not been collected? The closer we get to 2014 the more evident that we are going to fail in reaching the goals of "All Children Can Learn". The failure of closing achievement gaps, of particularly miniority/poor children, should be the major topic of discussion. I think early childhood education initiatives are vitally important but I am not sure that this initiative will help black children in Kentucky. The 2008 CATS Academic Index Results for White vs. African American students indicates black elementary students doing relatively well but fall behind in middle and further behind in high school. Until we close these gaps in achievement we can not consider ourselves successful in educating and in providing all students with the tools to succeed in Kentucky.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!