Sunday, April 26, 2009

Department of Education Claims Kids Learning at Higher Levels Than Ever Before

– I guess eighth grade reading does not count

A tip of the hat to Richard Day for reminding me that it had been a while since I last looked at one of the more inflated sets of claims about education progress in Kentucky – the Kentucky Department of Education Web site’s so-called “Proof of Progress” section.

Here is the opening claim.

And, here is a graph I assembled using the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Data Explorer and state CATS reports several months ago. This graph shows middle school reading proficiency rates from the now disbanded CATS test and from the more credible (though still somewhat inflated) NAEP.

That six-point decline you see in this graph in Kentucky’s eighth grade NAEP reading proficiency rate from 2003 to 2007 wasn’t just statistically significant, it lead the nation for the biggest drop of any state.

As the yellow arrow points out, there also was a statistically significant decline in reading proficiency rates between 2002 and 2007, as well.

Clearly, if NAEP eighth grade reading has any validity, the Kentucky Department of Education’s over-blown claim does not hold up.

Of course, if you mostly trusted the now defunct CATS test…………


kentuckyliz said...

Our high school graduates are getting smarter, too, as evidenced by the increasing GPA's over the last decade.

Of course, ACT scores haven't risen along with the HSGPAs.

What happened a decade ago?

The KEES scholarship program started.

You get more of what you incentivize.

Richard Innes said...

Kentuckyliz raises a good point.

There are some out there who argue against using college entrance tests like the ACT. The reason I don't agree is because of the obvious grade inflation Kentuckyliz notes. Without the ACT or SAT to catch this, colleges would be at a serious disadvantage in making enrollment decisions.