Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Writing improves too slowly

Kentucky eighth grade writing performance, as measured by NAEP, is not keeping pace with the nation. While Kentucky scores have improved since 1998, the country has improved more quickly.

Kentucky scores are now significantly behind the nation for all students, female students, white students, students with disabilities, and students without disabilities. Details are below, along with a parallel 1998 chart that shows only white students’ performance significantly behind.

NAEP on-demand writing prompts are different from portfolio pieces, but both ask students to craft their own pieces, and strength in one kind of writing should spill over into other kinds. With our unique investment in writing portfolios, I expected our students to improve faster than the nation as a whole. That didn’t happen.

Senate Bill 1 offers us a new start on efforts to improve our students' writing skills. Those changes need steady attention to be sure they are implemented well and with a stronger impact on student writing skill than we see in these NAEP results.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!