Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Subject results during the transition

From 2007 to 2009, most elementary and middle schools improved their mathematics results, and all high schools improved their writing results.*

More than half of elementary schools also improved in science and writing, and more than half of middle schools improved in science and social studies.

However, less than half of schools improved in reading at any level, and less than half of schools improved in elementary science, middle school writing, and high school science, social studies, and writing.

The graph above comes from the Transition Index Report available here. For 2007, the report used official subject index results calculated by the Kentucky Department of Education. For 2009, the report used unofficial numbers calculated using the same formula KDE used for the other years. To see the five subjects combined in a single statewide transition index number, check out the post here or check out the full reporting on individual schools and districts here.

* Those who follow state testing closely may ask how the 2008 change in high school writing performance levels contributed to the high number of improving schools. The answer is: very little. In 2007, high school writing used five performance levels: novice-nonperformance, novice, apprentice, proficient, and distinguished). For 2008 and 2009, eight levels were used: low novice, medium novice, high novice, low apprentice, medium apprentice, high apprentice, proficient, and distinguished. That definitely gave schools a boost: they now get added credit for high novices and high apprentices, and that definitely increases their index results. However, even using the old formula, treating all 2009 apprentices as worth the same weight and all 2009 high and medium novices as novices, an index calculation would still show that out of 234 high schools, 233 improved their writing results. In the graph above, 233 of 234 would still be displayed as 100 percent.

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