Eighth-graders perform well in reading, struggle in math
FRANKFORT, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2015) — Kentucky public school fourth-grade students ranked above the national average in reading and math, while eighth-grade students had similar results in reading, according to the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP)—also known as the Nation’s Report Card— released today. Eighth-grade students scored below the national average in math.
“While we are encouraged by our students’ performance in reading, middle school math continues to be a concern and an area where we need additional emphasis going forward,” said Commissioner of Education Stephen Pruitt. “I look forward to partnering with shareholders to seek solutions and ensure all students have the opportunities they need to achieve mathematics literacy, achieve at high levels and become college- and career- ready. We owe this to our students to ensure they can succeed in the career path of their choosing.”
NAEP is administered to a random sampling of students in 4th and 8th grades. Not all students, schools or districts participate.
The NAEP grading scale ranges from 0 to 500. Students’ performance on NAEP fits into one of four categories: Below Basic, Basic, Proficient or Advanced.
In Kentucky, in reading, 75 percent of 4th graders and 78 percent of 8th graders scored at the Basic level or above. In mathematics, 84 percent of 4th graders and 68 percent of 8th graders scored at the Basic level or above.
Overall, Kentucky fourth-grade students scored above 33 states, about the same as 15 states and lower than only three states in reading. In math, fourth-grade students finished above 20 states, about the same as 22 states and lower than nine states.
In reading, eighth-grade students scored above 21 states, about the same as 25 states and lower than five states. In math, eighth-grade students scored above seven states, about the same as 14 states and lower than 30 states.
NAEP protects the confidentiality of students, teachers and schools that participate by not reporting individual student, teacher or school data. However, NAEP does provide results for major demographic groups, and states that meet NAEP reporting criteria are able to compare their results with both national results and the results of other states.
“When we look at a break down in scores by gender, free/reduced-price meal eligibility and ethnicity, we see some very modest improvements in closing the achievement gap in some areas, and in other areas are seeing it increase,” Pruitt said. “We have to find a way to consistently close the achievement gap and any learning opportunity gaps that may exist by increasing the achievement levels for all students. According to the 2015 TELL Kentucky Survey, six out of every 10 teachers in Kentucky say they need more professional learning on how to effectively close the achievement gaps in their classrooms, so making sure they get the help they need will be one place to start.”
For more than 40 years, NAEP has been the country’s only nationally representative and continuing survey of students’ educational achievement. The assessment is authorized by Congress, directed by the National Center for Education Statistics and developed by Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey. Westat, Inc. of Rockville, Maryland, conducts sample selection and data collection.