FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 15, 2015) – This week, two national education organizations praised Kentucky for closing the gap between student performance on state tests and the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), the Nation’s Report Card.
Achieve and the Collaborative for Student Success released a new analysis of student proficiency scores that compares student performance on state tests and on NAEP. In many states there are wide discrepancies with students almost always performing better on state tests.
The issue often comes to light when students reach college believing they are prepared only to find out they must take and pay for remedial courses, which do not earn students credit toward college graduation. Additionally, students who take remedial courses often do not complete their college coursework and earn a degree. Similarly, high school graduates entering the job market also may discover they need additional training for knowledge and skills they should have learned in high school.
“Senate Bill 1 (2009) addressed this issue head on,” Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday said. “It required standards that demand more of students and aligned high-quality assessments that honestly and accurately reflect a more rigorous benchmark for students — college and career readiness.”
According to the report, for the 2013-14 school year, Kentucky showed an 18-point discrepancy between state- reported proficiency scores and NAEP scores in 4th-grade reading, and a 15-point discrepancy in 8th grade math – about half what it was before moving to K-PREP tests. In comparison, more than half the country had discrepancies in excess of 30 percentage points, with the differential in some states greater than 50 percentage points.
“The report verifies the increased rigor of our assessments; statistically, we are well within NAEP standard error of measurement,” Holliday said. “In Kentucky, the standard for proficiency is aligned with the ACT and the requirement for admission to credit-bearing, beginning college coursework at state colleges and universities. What that means for parents is that they have a reliable measure as early as 3rd grade to know whether their student is on track to be college ready by the end of high school.”
“So, while Kentucky’s proficiency rates are not identical to NAEP rates, the state is providing credible information on whether students are equipped for success in adult life,” Holliday said.
“This report confirms that Kentucky’s state tests are being scored against rigorous standards,” said Stu Silberman, the Executive Director of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence. “We’ve defined proficiency to line up with what students need to be ready for college and career, and we are definitely making significant progress toward those goals.”
Unlike state tests, not all students take NAEP tests. NAEP bases its results on a sample of students and provides data at the state and national level. NAEP does not report scores for individual students or schools. The reading and mathematics tests are administered from late January every other year. Results are reported in a late summer/early fall timeframe.
Students take the state K-PREP tests during the last two weeks of the school year. Results are reported in the fall.
Kentucky NAEP and K-PREP test results from previous years are available through Kentucky’s online school report card.