Thursday, October 1, 2015

KPREP Results for Student Subgroups (Facing Some Brutal Facts)

First, a snapshot of results for different student subgroups using the newly released 2015 K-PREP elementary school results, and then a little explanation.
Explanations for three terms used above:
  • Students are counted in the gap group if they are African American, Hispanic or American Indian/Native Alaska, or have  identified disabilities or limited English proficiency or eligibility for free or reduced-price meals. The gap group is a way the Kentucky Department of Education shares combined data on multiple groups we know have been historically under-served by Kentucky's schools. Naturally, some students belong to more than one of those groups, but those students are only counted once in the group score.  In the tested elementary grades, they're about 67% of all students.
  • The students not counted in the gap group are the the other 33%. They don't have disabilities or limited English proficiency or low family incomes that qualify for free or reduced-price meals. They're also white, Asian, Hawaii native or Pacific islander, or of two or more races.
  • The weighted average combines all the KPREP scores at the proficient and distinguished levels. Reading, math, and social studies results each count 25%, with writing counting 20% and language mechanics 5%. That's the formula the Department used to calculate the gap group component of this year's overall scores.  Using that formula generates one number for thinking about what's happened to each group of students.
The weighted average lets some patterns pop out, like these:
  • Students in the "gap group" are 30 points behind those not in that "group."
  • Students with limited English proficiency are another 20 points behind the "gap group."
  • Students with disabilities, African American students and Hispanic students also score below the gap group, though Hispanic students are quite close.
  • Students with free/reduced meal eligibility have results essentially identical to the gap group result, for the obvious reason that those students with low family incomes hugely outnumber all the other subgroups.
A similar pattern –but with even worse gaps– appears at the middle school level.

The pattern worsens again at the high school level. At this level, reading, math, social studies and science each count 20%, writing 16%, and language mechanics 4%: the formula used for high school Gap Group reporting. For 2015, only high schools have reported KPREP science results.
Look hard at that last graph. 

Using this weighted average approach, we delivered proficiency for the high school students we serve best, the ones not counted in the gap group:
  • at more than twice the rate we delivered for African American students
  • at more than four times the rate for students with disabilities
  • and at more than six times the rate we delivered for students with limited English proficiency.

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Updates and data on Kentucky education!