2016 statewide results show improvement in math, reading and other subjects, but most gaps have widened
For Kentucky's African American students, recently released 2016 results show some important progress, including:
■ Mathematics proficiency increased at all levels, growing 1.0 point at the elementary level, 2.9 points at the middle school level, and 4.5 points at the high school level. The double checkmarks celebrate growth of more than two points when the three levels are averaged together.However, 2016 results for African American students also provide reasons for concern, including these:
■ Reading and social studies proficiency also increased.
■ Students graduating ready for college and career rose, with a 0.2 increase in the four-year graduation rate and a 0.6 point increase in the percent of graduates who have demonstrated readiness for college and/or career.
■ Proficiency declined in writing, language mechanics, and science.
■ Gaps got worse in most subjects, leaving African American students further behind their white classmates in 2016 than they were in 2015.
■ The gaps between these students and their classmates remained unacceptably large in every subject and at every level, as shown in the detailed reporting on the next page.
■ Proficiency remains far away for most of these students. For example, only 23.9 percent of African American students were proficient or above on the middle school KPREP mathematics assessment, even after this year’s big step up in mathematics results.The chart above combines each subject’s KPREP results, averaging together the percent of students who reached proficiency or above at the elementary, middle, and high school levels, except that science uses the only high school assessment results. The Ready Graduates rate combines the four-year graduation rate and the college and career readiness rate for graduates.
For further detail, with results and improvements at each level and full gap details, check out this one-page display of the trends for this group of students.
It is important to remember that no one assessment can give a complete picture of progress towards meeting Kentucky’s ambitious goals for student learning. Many other kinds of evidence can enrich our understanding of how students’ knowledge and skills are developing.
Still, this one-time snapshot shows us mixed and insufficient results. We clearly must accelerate our work to develop the talents of Kentucky’s African American students, providing the supports, challenges, and opportunities these students and all students need to reach much higher levels of achievement..