Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Achievement gaps remain severe:

From Monday's press release, with graphs to follow in upcoming posts:

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 students with disabilities, limited English proficiency, and African-American backgrounds. Low-income and Hispanic students also scored well 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 while Kentucky made a three-year shift from the Commonwealth Accountability Testing System to the Unbridled Learning system based on new state standards and assessments. 2011 is the last year of that transition, and the last year the three groups will issue this type of report.

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, and other factors. The partner groups applied the formula to state test scores results, and found that:

  • Of all groups studied, only Asian elementary and middle school students and gifted students at all levels have reached a score of 100, equivalent to the average student being proficient in all tested subjects under the state’s old standards
  • No other student groups are on track to reach 100 by 2014
  • Students of both sexes and all ethnic backgrounds are improving, but improving too slowly
  • Students with limited English proficiency had flat or declining results at all levels
  • On the 0-140 scale used in the analysis, gaps of 10 points or more separate African-American students, students with disabilities, migrant 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 strengths and tackle weaknesses now, before the new assessment scores arrive."

"The gaps remain painful and too many of those gaps are growing wider, reminding us that we still have major work ahead to provide an equal quality of education for all Kentucky’s children,” said Fayette 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 aiming to meet Kentucky’s new goals for college and career readiness."

Stu Silberman, executive director of the Prichard Committee, saw the report as “a call to action for all Kentucky adults on behalf of all our children.” Silberman 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.  

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!