Friday, October 9, 2009

Achievement gaps remain severe

Here's the full press release on the Disaggregated Index Report released this morning:

Achievement gaps continue to impair Kentucky’s overall education progress, according to an analysis of state test scores released today by three statewide groups. Kentucky schools are falling especially short with African-American students and students with limited English proficiency, with low-income and Hispanic students also scoring below their peers.

The analysis, presented in a "Disaggregated Index Report," was developed by the Council for Better Education, the Kentucky Association of School Councils and the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence to monitor school performance during the three years that Kentucky is moving from the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System to a system based on new state standards and testing. The new system was mandated in legislation (Senate Bill 1) enacted by the 2009 General Assembly.

The Disaggregated Index is based on a formula similar to the one used in past years by the Kentucky Department of Education to compare student results based on race, income, gender, and other factors. The partner groups applied the formula to state test scores results, and found that:

• Of all groups studied, only gifted students have reached proficiency at all three levels: elementary, middle, and high school.
• Asian students have reached proficiency at the elementary and middle school levels.
• African-American, Hispanic, low-income, migrant and limited English students showed improvement at all levels, but the rate of improvement since 2007 has been too slow to put them on track for proficiency by 2014.
• White students at the elementary level are on track to reach proficiency by 2014. At the middle school level, white students scores are improving too slowly, and in high school, white scores have not increased over the 2007 level.
• On the 0-140 scale used in the analysis, gaps of 15 points or more separate African-American students and students with limited English proficiency from their classmates at every level.

"The goal is to deliver proficiency for each and every child," said Ronda Harmon, executive director of the Kentucky Association of School Councils. "These disaggregated index results allow schools to evaluate their strengths and tackle their weaknesses until the 2012 assessment begins."

"The gaps remain painful, reminding us that we still have major work ahead to provide an equal quality of education for all Kentucky’s children,” said Daviess County Superintendent Tom Shelton, president of the Council for Better Education. "Plus, to be competitive in the global economy, we need every single student to be learning at very high levels, preparing for when the new college-ready standards come into play."

Cindy Heine, associate executive director of the Prichard Committee, saw the report as “a call to action for all Kentucky adults on behalf of all our children.” Heine added that the point of the report was to see the trends clearly and encourage all stakeholders to keep attention on raising performance during the testing transition.

The full report is available at, along with results for each school and district in Kentucky and an earlier report on overall results and subject-level trends released by the same groups in September. Results for students with disabilities will be released later this fall.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!