Monday, March 22, 2010

Reading gap between boys and girls larger in Kentucky than other states

It was no surprise to us, but the print version of the Sunday Kentucky Enquirer just ran a front-page teaser along with a full article about a new study from the Center on Education Policy (CEP) that shows the reading gap for boys versus girls is larger here than in other states. You can read an on line version here.

Unfortunately, the data used in this CEP study comes from each individual state’s assessment program, so there is the possibility that unintended sex-related bias in some states’ assessments could impact the results.

However, it is now easy to assemble reading scores by sex from the National Assessment of Educational Progress with the NAEP Data Explorer tool.

This test is now uniformly given in all 50 states, so any biases will at least be equally applied across all the test takers.

I looked at the most recently available NAEP reading results for fourth grade reading, which are for 2007. It turns out that among the 50 states and Washington, DC, Kentucky ranks near the very top with its 8.40 point gap, among the largest reading gaps between boys and girls of any state (Note: You can click on the figure to expand it)

Only five states had a larger NAEP Scale Score gap than Kentucky did. Just five states.

On a proficiency rate basis, 37 percent of Kentucky’s females scored “Proficient or Above” on the national assessment while only 30 percent of our boys achieved comparable performance.

We’ll take a further look after the new National Assessment of Educational Progress reading results for 2009 are released on Wednesday.

And, we’ll keep an eye on this clear problem that still exists after 20 years of KERA.

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