Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Another National Report Verifies Educational Progress in Kentucky

Kentucky Among 4 states to show
Moderate-to-Large Gains in both
Reading and Math since 2002

A new report from the Center on Educationa Policy asks, "Has Student Achievement Increased Since 2002?"

And the answer in Kentucky is YES!

Since ... 2002, four states made moderate-to-large gains in reading and math at all three grade levels analyzed (elementary, middle, and high school) according to both the percentages of students scoring at or above the proficient level and effect sizes. ...and Kentucky finds itself among the top "growers" with Arkansas, Texas and Washington.

Main Conclusions of the Study:

1. Since 2002, reading and math achievement on state tests has gone up in most states according to the percentages of students scoring at the proficient level. Gains tended to be larger at the elementary and middle school grades than at the high school level. Achievement has also risen in most states according to effect sizes. These findings are drawn from states with at least three years of comparable test data.

2. Trends in reading and math achievement on NAEP have generally moved in the same positive direction as trends on state tests, although gains on NAEP tended to be smaller than those on state tests. The exception to the broad trend of rising scores on both assessments occurred in grade 8 reading, where fewer states showed gains on NAEP than on state tests, especially in terms of effect sizes.

3. In states with sufficient data to determine achievement gap trends on state tests, gaps have narrowedmore often than they havewidened since 2002, particularly forAfrican American students and low-income students. Gap trends were also largely positive for Latino students,but this finding is less conclusive because in many states the Latino subgroup has changed significantly in size in recent years.On thewhole, percentages proficient and effect sizes revealed similar trends of narrowing or widening, although percentages proficient gave a more positive picture of achievement gap trends than effect sizes.

4. Gaps on NAEP have also narrowed more often than they have widened in states with sufficient data to determine gap trends. The exception was in grade 8 math, where gaps on NAEP widened more often than they narrowed for most subgroups. In general,NAEP results painted a less positive picture of progress in narrowing gaps than state tests did.

5. It is impossible to determine the extent to which these trends in test results have occurred because of NCLB. Since 2002,many different but interconnected policies and programs have been undertaken to raise achievement—some initiated by states or school districts and others implemented in response to federal requirements.Moreover,all public school students have been affected by NCLB, so there is no suitable comparison group of students to show what would have happened without NCLB.


Richard Innes said...

I have not been able to access the CEP report as their site locks up my computer when I try to download the report.

However, from what I have been able to learn, I think the report is going to have a credibility problem.

You see, Kentucky had a statistically significant decline on NAEP grade 8 reading between 2002 and 2007 (Check Table 11 in the 2007 NAEP Reading Report Card). That isn't what CATS shows, of course, but it certainly raises a question about how we can safely state that Kentucky made across the board improvements in all grades since 2002. That clearly isn't the case.

The Principal said...


Do I understand you correctly - that you concede the point for everything except 8th grade reading?

I have invited CEP to comment.


The Principal said...

Mr. Day, you sent a message on Wednesday saying that a commentator had a question about the report we released on Tuesday about student achievement. In particular, he claimed our report would have credibility problems because Kentucky had a decline in 8th grade reading on NAEP that had not been reflected in the results on the state’s test. I asked the authors of the report to look at this issue and to respond. This is what they say:

First, this is consistent with the CEP report. Table 4-F (in the national summary) shows a moderate-to-large gain on the state assessment but a moderate-to-large decrease on NAEP for grade 8 reading.

In the state profile, the first bullet says: "From 2002 to 2006, student achievement increased in both reading and math at all grade levels analyzed, according to percentages proficient and effect sizes." This is true for the state assessment, and presumably this is what the e-mail author is referring to.

Kentucky changed its assessment in 2007, so it's possible (although admittedly quite a stretch) that performance dropped in 2007... which showed up on NAEP but we couldn't see on state testing.

The report provides several reasons why NAEP and state tests might differ.

After receiving your e-mail, I got a call from a person from an organization in Kentucky who was asking the same question about our report. I asked him if he had read the report and he said that he had not, and that he was probably the source of your question. I urged him to read the report before he started raising concerns about it.

By the way, the report—Has Student Achievement Increased Since 2002?—and the fifty state profiles, as well as all the test score data from the states is on our web site, Thanks.

Jack Jennings
President, Center on Education Policy