Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hold onto your hats: NAEP science results by family income level

In the 2009 NAEP science results released yesterday, Kentucky student scale score performance ranked:
  • 2nd of 46 states for fourth graders eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
  • 1st of 46 states for fourth graders not eligible for those lunches.
  • 5th of 46 states for eighth graders eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
  • 9th of 46 states for eighth graders not eligible for free or reduced-price lunches.
By all means, read those bullets twice, and the second bullet one more time.   If you need to see the results in their official habitat, try the NAEP Data Explorer,  run your own analysis, and then come back here.  But however long you need to let this sink in, let it sink in until you're sure that something truly good is happening in Kentucky's public schools.

As I always say, there's work still be done.   We've still got a gap between those two groups to close, and  the whole country needs to move science learning to a higher level.  

Nevertheless, we've got a leading position on figuring out those challenges.  There are just a few states with a case that we should look to them for a model, and many states with a reason to look to us. 

So, for these results and our overall scale score rankings of 4th in grade 4 and 16th in grade 8, a little celebration is surely in order: celebration of our children, and our educators, and our decades of statewide effort to keep attention on the full curriculum of knowledge and skills that each and every child will need for adult success.


  1. No matter where these kids are coming from, whatever home life they are experiencing, this shows that when we belive, and expect, ALL kids can learn and at high levels. Thank you Kentucky teachers!

  2. Susan,

    I'm sure you recall, as do I, the contentious debates that occurred in Kentucky during the early 1990s, regarding the issue of whether or not we should have a uniform, state curriculum for students in elementary and secondary schools. Policy makers and state level leaders at the time unequivocally denied that the KERA has ushered in a statewide curriculum; they described the Program of Studies as a "guide" for SBDM Councils to use in designing individualized curricula at their respective schools.

    Although no one wanted to admit to having a uniform, state curriculum, teachers and administrators quickly figured out that if the state-designed assessments would evaluate students (and schools) on curricular content found in the Core Content for Assessment (a sub-set of the Kentucky Program of Studies), it would behoove them to adopt the de facto state curriculum as their own.

    As the most recent results of the NAEP testing in science reflects, having a uniform, state curriculum has not been a bad thing. I remember as a young teacher when the rigor and appropriateness of the science curriculum (and other curricula)was based solely on individual school districts' adoption of textbooks; there was no uniformity whatsoever from district to district.

    Although some of the various components of education reform contained in the initial KERA legislation may have been modified or even eliminated over the past two decades, the uniform, state curriculum (ushered in by the development and implementation of a "focused" statewide assessment program)has made a tremendous difference in improving the academic achievement of "all" the state's children enrolled in public schools.

  3. Awesome results! Hard work has paid off.


Updates and data on Kentucky education!