Sunday, April 26, 2009

Science achievement, disability, gender

There's strength for Kentucky here. Our female students with disabilities and our male students with and without have statistically significant leads over similar students nationally in science. Our female students with disabilities show a six-point lead, but that does not qualify a statistically significant. (Since we test a small sample, the gap has to be huge to be significant.)

There's also pain for Kentucky here. Scores are 15 points lower for boys with disabilities than for boys without, and 22 points lower for girls with than without.

That gender gap, with girls behind, is news to me. In Kentucky data, our problem is usually boys lagging--and it's usually small enough that I can't see it as important compared to other gaps. This time, seeing the numbers this way, I imagine female students with disabilities having just about given up, and given up by age nine. That's only a first guess of what the gap could mean, but whatever the reason, these aren't numbers we should accept.

(Small note on data: For years, NAEP data has been available for one group at a time, so I could see how male students perform and how students with disabilities perform, but not how male students with disabilities are doing. Suddenly, with the new version of the Data Explorer, the combinations are available. This post and yesterday's on race and poverty (here), are the first things I've checked out. More as I have time to learn more.)

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!