Friday, September 29, 2017

2017 KPREP Results: Bleak Trends for African American Students

Post By Susan Perkins Weston

2016 to 2017 KPREP trends were grim for Kentucky's African American students. Out of 14 assessments that can be compared from year to year, eight show proficiency declines, and all but two have widening gaps compared to white students.

We cannot mobilize to change those results until we face them, so here is a blunt statement of a year when we moved in the wrong direction. In the charts that follow, green highlights good news: rising proficiency or narrowing gaps. Yellow marks flat or declining proficiency levels and stagnant or growing gaps.
On elementary assessments, African American student results show:
  • Reading and math proficiency going down, and going down faster than proficiency levels for white students
  • Social studies proficiency going down while white results improved
  • Writing and language mechanics proficiency improving, but with less improvement than for white students
  • On balance, an increased gap in every assessed  elementary subject
Middle school African American student results show:
  • Reading and language mechanics proficiency rising, but rising less quickly than for white students
  • Mathematics proficiency declining slightly while white performance was flat
  • Social studies results declining slightly while white results improved a little
  • On balance, an increased gap in every assessed subject

Finally, as shown below, high school African American results show:
  • English II proficiency improving slightly while white performance showed mild decline
  • Algebra II and U.S. History proficiency declining and declining more than white results did
  • Writing proficiency improving and improving more than for white students
  • Biology results improving, but improving less than for white students
  • On net, smaller gaps in reading and writing, and wider gaps in mathematics, social studies, and science
Our challenge is to find the approaches that can change these results: changes in instruction, changes in school climate, changes in resources, changes in leadership and community engagement, changes in whatever must change for African American students to flourish in our schools. I very much hope that work will begin immediately to meet that challenge much more effectively than we did last year.

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