Tuesday, March 3, 2009

First draft: Kentucky challenges and American challenges

Compared to other states, Kentucky is in the middle of the pack on most challenges, ahead on some, and behind on some. That's true for student results, and it's true for the strategies we're using to raise those results. In the middle of many reports, discussions, and blog posts on the issues, a very short, very quick overview can sometimes be helpful. Here's my first try at that:

In my pre-blogging life, a dozen people would have worked this over before I published it. I'm guaranteed to have left some things out and made some mistakes.

Instead, I'm inviting you, my blog-readers, to be the first to work this over. Tell me what's missing? Show me what's not clear? Ask questions small and large? (Click comments below, or click on my name at the top right corner of the blog to send me e-mail.)


  1. In the 'in line with the nation' strategies box I would include writing portfolios and use of open response test items as one of the reasons for our performance in writing.

  2. Susan,

    Just out of curiosity, what research is this based on?

  3. Let's see what I can do off the top of my head, left column first.

    Current NAEP scores support science, reading, writing, math, Poverty, disability, race. ACT provides confirmation on the race gap, reading and English and math.

    Social studies and arts are my reasoned estimate in a world without data, which is why the (?) is included. We've tested science all these years while other states let it be displaced--and we have a lead as a result. My hunch is that if we had a comparison test we'd see the same thing in social studies and arts.

    High school completion and college completion are from the Census ACS data, while college entrance is either from Mortenson Seminar or higheredinfo.org, and STEM is from the NCES digest.

    Funding equity and technology are from Quality Counts, either this year or last.

    Assessment is my judgment based on Quality Counts analysis plus lots of Ed Week reading, plus the testing summaries posted here on norm-referenced and constructed-response use nationwide.

    Preschool is Census ACS.

    Core Content is Quality Counts from memory, which in turn draws on AFT work.

    Teacher prep is the new Teacher Quality report, which gives us a D+, putting 19 states below us and 16 above that grade. Professional development is partly from that, partly guesswork based on reading Ed Week for a long time.

    P-12 funding adequacy is from Quality Counts and the NCES Digest.

    College costs are from www.sheeo.org.

    The Top 20 report (see link in the sidebar) has more than half of the data, and I"ve also blogged most of it in the last six weeks.

  4. Susan,

    I question your categorizing Kentucky’s writing performance as “in line with the nation.”

    Eighth grade NAEP writing was last assessed in 2007. Kentucky’s scale score was statistically significantly below the national average. In fact, our scale score was only statistically significantly higher than 8 of the 45 participating states. If you look at the number of Kentucky students found Proficient or more on that same assessment, we only can claim a statistically significantly higher score than just 5 states – that’s all.

    Furthermore, Kentucky excluded 6 percent of its entire raw NAEP sample on the 2007 eighth grade writing assessment due to learning disabilities. The national average exclusion rate was half of that. No state excluded a higher proportion of these kids. Many excluded only one or two percent of their raw sample due to learning disabilities. Because NAEP offers testing accommodations on this assessment, our nation-leading exclusion rate coupled with below national average performance is particularly troubling.

    Fourth grade writing has not been assessed by the NAEP since 2002, so I won’t take time on it here.

    In the interests of credibility, I strongly urge you to reclassify writing in your charts. The recent NAEP results don’t justify your current ranking.

    I have more reservations, including your comments about racial gaps. Very briefly, those gaps are reduced here because our Whites perform notably lower than their peers elsewhere.

    And, as always, I have to remind you that comparisons using NAEP are now very problematic due to different demographics, and different accommodation and exclusion rates. All the recent NAEP reports carry that warning.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!