2022 School Results: A Closer Look – Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence
Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence

2022 School Results: A Closer Look

The 2022 Kentucky School Report Cards offer a snapshot of some recent results from Kentucky schools. The scores show important impacts of pandemic disruption and important challenges for future work to equip Kentucky’s rising generation. Of course they do. It’s the challenge part and the future part that deserve our best attention. This post will give a quick look at where we stand, on some key results, aiming mainly to point toward the challenges ahead on all five assessed subjects, on meeting college benchmarks, on postsecondary readiness, and on graduation. First, though, I want to underline the ambitious way our state scores our tests.

KENTUCKY SCORING AIMS HIGH

In our state, proficiency and readiness have future-oriented definitions. They identify knowledge and skills students need for deep and full participation in our economy and communities. They aren’t based on evidence that schools can easily move all students to that level, or that schools in some other states have done it, or that schools in some mythic past made it happen. On the contrary, Kentucky proficiency and readiness ask for more than anyone made happen anywhere.

More than a decade ago, the Council on Postsecondary Education set benchmarks for readiness on the ACT, based on how ACT scores correlated with success in entry-level college courses. In 2012, Kentucky launched an assessment system designed to align with those benchmarks. 48% of ACT takers met CPE’s reading benchmark, so proficiency for earlier grades was defined as the level reached by 48% of students in 2012 reading testing. Similarly, ACT showed 40% at CPE’s math benchmark, so proficiency was defined by the work 40% did on 2012 math tests. The idea was to call for aligned levels of improvement from every assessed grade.

Calling proficiency “basic” or “grade level” is a mistake. As Kentucky’s students and teachers work through the disruptions of a terrible pandemic, it’s an extra big mistake. We should invest deeply in equipping our rising generation more fully for their futures. We should use data as one way to understand how big the lift will be. Let’s do that work with clear respect for Kentucky having set its scoring levels high.

THE READING CHALLENGE

Last spring, 43%-46% of assessed students scored proficient in reading on their grade’s Kentucky State Assessment. That’s below the 48% level that mattered in 2012, showing clearly that it will take extraordinary shared efforts to put all student on a good path toward flourishing futures. We have work to do.

The results also show continuing differences in reading results for varied student groups. Results are weakest for English learners and students with disabilities, and the problems for those two groups intensify in the higher grades. Results for African American students indicate that we haven’t yet found consistent ways to build on those learners’ strengths, and those for Latino and economically disadvantaged students also warrant concern. This news adds further clarity about the efforts in front of us all.

THE MATH CHALLENGE

For mathematics, 36% to 38 % of assessed students scored proficient or higher in math last spring, below the 40% level from 2012. English learners and students with disabilities again had the lowest scores, with results especially low in the higher grades, and African American and Latino students again need us to serve and support them more effectively.

CHALLENGES IN OTHER ASSESSED SUBJECTS

Take a look to see the spring 2022 evidence and its patterns. The main point is, again, we have work to do. In state data file, there are asterisks instead of numbers for English learner students in grades 7 and 11 science. I don’t know why those scores were suppressed, but I suspect that it was because there was no proficiency to report.

READINESS AND GRADUATION CHALLENGES

This final chart covers report card metrics for the end of high school. On ACT, 2022 reporting shows many students not reaching the benchmarks the Council on Postsecondary Education has set for being ready for college success. For three groups included in the rest of these charts, the state did not do any reporting: students without identified disabilities and IEPS, non-English learner students, and non-economically disadvantaged students.

Postsecondary readiness is an accountability indicator that uses ACT along with some other ways for students to show they are ready for college and/or career. And graduation here reports on students who started grade 9 in the fall of 2018 and received their diploma this year or earlier.

For each Kentucky district and public school, Kentuckian can find local versions of this data ready for review at kentuckyschoolreportcard.com. It’s worth a look, especially if you pull up the information in order to understand the challenges ahead and take a part in meeting those challenges. In her statement on these issues yesterday, Brigitte Blom wrote :

Faced with this new data, we again see clearly that Kentucky needs a groundswell of public action in support of academic success. For every school and district, for every family and every community, it is time to come together to equip our rising generation for full participation in our society and community.

The work is right in front of us. Let’s dig in.

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