Richard Innes: Where do you think Kentucky’s public education system ranks?

Where do you think Kentucky’s public education system ranks?

Over the past few months, Kentuckians have been bombarded with claims that the state’s education system has risen from the bottom and now ranks roughly in the middle of all states.

For example, a spokesperson for the Joint Center for Literacy at the University of Kentucky argued at a recent Kentucky Interim Joint Board of Education meeting that the state now ranks intermediate in reading.

A recent article in the Northern Kentucky Online News Service then claimed the state was ranked 19th.

And the same kind of claim reappeared in a recent op-ed from a student at the Gatton Academy of Mathematical Sciences, this time pinning the state to number 29. This student also claimed that Kentucky had made great strides.

Richard Innes

But are these claims accurate? Is Kentucky’s education system currently in the middle of the flock?

To answer that question, I put together a short paper for the Bluegrass Institute. While Kentucky’s Education System Sleeps…” to see what the scores indicate when analyzed in the manner recommended by the National Assessment of Educational Progress’ (NAEP) own document, such as the special section on page 32 of the 2009 NAEP Science Report Card. .

While Kentucky Sleeps This report examines early state test data for the NAEP (generally from 1992, with the exception of Grade 8 Reading, which did not take its first state-level test until 1998) and the latest 2019 results. increase.

State participation in NAEP was voluntary prior to 2003, and if NAEP’s sample of student subgroups did not include enough students to confidently present scores with acceptable sampling error. , so the number of states considered in each example is different.

However, the messages summarized in the table below are consistent. Among the states with full scoring data available for both years, Kentucky also failed to rank her one region in the “middle of the pack” in 2019. From the 1990s.

The table shows:

Reading the first row of data covering white student performance in grade 4 NAEP reading, a total of 42 states reported scores for both years (1992 and 2019). In 1992, Kentucky ranked very low at 41 out of 42 participating states. In 2019, Kentucky ranked 33rd out of her 42 states.

On a percentage basis, Kentucky ranked at the 5% level among all states in 1992, with scores reported in both years. By 2019, Kentucky had moved up a bit to her 24% level. The change was 19 points. This is the highest performance change shown in the table. But her NAEP Grade 4 Reading results for her 2019 white students in Kentucky are clearly not in-between Puck’s performances.

For the most part, Kentucky has actually lost ground since the early days of the state’s education reform, known as KERA, as evidenced by the large number of negative numbers in the Percentage Rank Change column. rice field.

By far the most unfortunate situation is for black students in Kentucky. Not only did it lose ground in all listed regions, but it moved from above, and sometimes well above, the center of the state in the 1990s to especially below the center of the county in all regions. During her KERA years in Kentucky, the state’s largest minority population couldn’t even keep up with other states’ racial responses.

By the way, we analyzed the scores by race because student racial demographics vary greatly by state. This is the method he recommends by NAEP in the science report card mentioned earlier.

For example, in the 2019 NAEP Grade 4 Reading, NAEP data show that public school classrooms in Kentucky are still 75% white, while public school classrooms nationwide are only 46% white. I’m here. Looking only at the overall average for each state compares white students in Kentucky to students of color in other states. Thanks to its inherent achievement gap, it just makes Kentucky’s performance look much better than it actually is.

To get an accurate picture, we need to analyze things on the NAEP, look at how subgroups of students perform, and make more comparisons.

In summary, as of 2019, there are no cases in which Kentucky ranked intermediate in any subject/grade/racial group combination among the eight comparisons above. For a white man who makes up his 75% of state public school classrooms, ranking in math is a big concern.

For Black students in Bluegrass State, the KERA era was a story of marked decline in all areas compared to their racial counterparts in other states. Claiming anything else is especially harmful to Kentucky’s largest racial minority group.

An important lesson to be learned from this is that those who claim that Kentucky’s education system is making remarkable strides are ill-informed and simply ignorant of the truth. Worse, their actions tend to diminish interest and reduce the sense of urgency in what was, and continues to be, the major education crisis in the Commonwealth.

Learn more in our report. While Kentucky’s Education System Sleeps….

Richard G. Innes is a Staff Education Analyst at the Bluegrass Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a free market think tank in Kentucky. He blogs frequently at his and can be reached at [email protected].

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