Friday, October 14, 2011

Which education gaps are being improved – Part 2 – High School Graduates’ Performance

I started this gap series of blogs yesterday with an analysis of the recently released Kentucky Core Content Test results. I am looking at what I’ll call “classical” achievement gaps, those between whites and blacks, males and females, and so forth.

Today, I present gap trend information for Kentucky’s white and African-American high school graduates from the ACT college entrance tests.

The quick bottom line: whether we look at scores for all high school graduates, public and private school combined, or just scores for our public schools, Kentucky’s African-American students got left behind.

To see the details, click the “Read more” link

The first set of data analyzed in this blog comes from ACT Profile Reports for Kentucky published by the ACT, Incorporated. These are available here by clicking on the link “ACT National and State Scores” on the left side of the web page, then selecting “state” for the appropriate year, and finally clicking on “Kentucky” in the listing of overall scores that appears.

The ACT scores shown below are for all high school graduates including public, private and home schools who graduated in 2010 or 2010 (Click on table to enlarge).

How to read the table:

The first four rows, colored salmon or light blue, show the average scores for each racial group in the five reported ACT areas. For example, the first row for 2010 shows that African American/Black students scored 15.2 in English.

The two rows highlighted in pink show the ACT achievement gaps for whites and black for each year by subject. For example, the two tan rows show that in 2010 whites scored 19.4 and blacks scored 15.2 in English. The difference – the gap – is 4.2 points, as shown in the first pink-highlighted row for the 2010 “White – African-American Gap.

In the following year, the English gap grew to 4.4 points as shown by the second pink row.

Finally, the summary section of the table, highlighted in yellow, shows the changes in the gaps between 2010 and 2011. For English, the gap grew by 0.2 points, and is widening, as shown in the final row, which is the “Trend” summary.

Obviously, the trend from 2010 to 2011 for the white versus black achievement gap averaged across all of Kentucky’s high school graduates on the ACT is mostly moving in the wrong direction. The gaps grew in four of the five reported areas and remained static in the fifth area. We are leaving our black high school graduates behind as of 2011.

While a full set of public school only scores disaggregated by race has not been made available, the Kentucky Department of Education’s News Release 11-067 on August 17, 2011 did separately list composite scores for whites and blacks for the 2010 and 2011 public school graduates.

Here is how that looks:

Once again, even if we only look at public school performance, blacks in Kentucky who graduated in 2011 got left behind.

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