Sunday, December 5, 2010

Has the C-J spoken incorrectly on a second factual issue (JCPS novice results)?

In an earlier post today, I explained why I believe the Courier-Journal's editorial this morning incorrectly described Jefferson County's proficiency trends. In this post, I turn to another claim in the same editorial, this time the one that says "students rated novice have dropped sharply."

For that statement as well, I respectfully submit that the editorial has not accurately described the facts.

Far from dropping sharply, the percent of Jefferson students scoring at the novice level increased from 2007 to 2010 at every level in reading, mathematics, science, and social studies and at the elementary level in writing. The only novice results that have a net three-year decline are middle and high school writing, and while the 14.5 percent decline for high schools is a large one, the 0.24 percent shift for middle schools is not a drop to which the modifier "sharp" can reasonably be applied.

The table below shows the full results, highlighting individual years when the percent novice went up in each subject as well as the 2007 to 2010 net increase in novice performance in nearly all subjects:

As I wrote in the earlier post, I will, of course, gladly consider any data the Courier-Journal may have relied on and will update this report if I have overlooked a way to analyze the results which would justify the claim that novices "dropped sharply."  Unless and until I see such an analysis, I respectfully submit that Jefferson County has seen a net increase, not a sharp drop, in students scoring at the novice level in nearly every subject at nearly every level.

Source note: The data reported above came from the Kentucky Department of Education's 2009-10 Interim Performance Report: Jefferson County Public Schools, run date 11/2/2010, available here, with my arithmetic combining the proficient and distinguished percentages shown here

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