Student Assesment Scores Decline In Kansas

By: KAKE News Email
By: KAKE News Email

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September 18, 2012

Student performance on statewide reading and math assessments saw a slight decline in 2012, the first time since No Child Left Behind was implemented in 2001 that performance has not improved.

Results from the 2012 Kansas Statewide Assessments were released today at the State Board of Education meeting in Topeka, and show that despite the overall dip, there are higher percentages of students performing at the exemplary level in reading and math than in any of the other four performance levels on the assessments.

The percentage of students in the top three performance levels on the reading assessment (exemplary, exceeds standard and meets standard) dropped 1.9 percentage points from 2011, to 85.7 percent. On the math assessment, students performing in the top three performance levels totaled 83.7 percent, down one percentage point from 2011.

A breakout of student performance based on the state's five performance levels - exemplary, exceeds standard, meets standard, approaches standard and academic warning - shows that despite overall performance dips, the highest percentage of students still perform at the exemplary level in both reading and math. In reading, 31.2 percent of Kansas students perform at the exemplary level, while in math 30.9 percent of students are at the exemplary level.

"Despite the decline in overall performance this year, Kansas students continue to perform very well on state assessments," said State Education Commissioner Dr. Diane DeBacker. "It's difficult to say with certainty what may have caused the performance declines we see in the 2012 data, but we do know that having moved so many of our students to and beyond grade level performance, Kansas educators are now engaged in the difficult work of moving our most challenged students into higher levels of performance. This is work that will become increasingly important as we raise the achievement bar for our students through the implementation of the Kansas Common Core Standards and new assessments aligned to those standards."

Reading and math assessments are given each year to every grade three through eight and once in high school. Performance levels by grade show declines in the percentage of students at meets standard and above for all grades in reading. In math, the percentage of students at meets standard or above increased in grades four and five, but decreased in grades three, six, seven, eight and high school.

Student performance also showed declines in science. Science is tested each year, but only in grades four, seven and once in high school. The percentage of students in the top three performance levels in the fourth grade was 88.2, a drop of more than four percentage points from the previous year. In seventh grade, 82.3 percent of students performed in the top three performance levels, a drop of 1.3 percentage points from the prior year, and in high school the percentage of students performing in the top three performance levels decreased by 3.1 percentage points to 80.7 percent.

History/government assessments were given in 2012 for the first time since 2008. Normally, the history/government assessment is given in even numbered years to students in grades six, eight and in high school. By action of the Kansas State Board of Education, testing in history/government was suspended in 2010 to provide some relief in testing requirements for Kansas school districts.
History/government assessment results show declines in the percentage of students at meets standard or above for all three grade levels. Performance at the meets standard level or above is down more than 3 percentage points in the sixth grade to 79.4 percent. At grade eight, 78.5 percent of students were in the top three performance levels, down 2.2 percentage points from the last time the assessment was given. In high school, performance at the top three levels was at 79.8 percent, a drop of 1.2 percentage points from 2008.

More information regarding the 2012 Kansas Report Card is available on the KSDE website here
State, district and building level information is available.

Also released today was the list of Kansas schools achieving the State Standard of Excellence at grade levels and building wide. There were 3,081 Standard of Excellence awards presented in reading and 2,816 awards presented in math. In science, 432 Standard of Excellence awards were achieved, and 160 awards were presented in history/government.

To receive a Standard of Excellence at the grade or building level, the building must meet Adequate Yearly Progress requirements in the "all students" group, and must meet a minimum requirement for the percent of students in the exemplary performance level and a maximum requirement for the percent of students in the academic warning performance level. Additional expectations for percentages of students in each of the five performance levels are also spelled out in the criteria.

More information about the Standard of Excellence criteria, as well as a full list of the 2012 Standard of Excellence award winners, is available here

The 2012 assessments mark the last time the state will calculate Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP). The state's request for flexibility in complying with some provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) was approved in July, allowing for a new accountability system to evaluate the effectiveness of schools and districts in helping students achieve academically. The new accountability system will be in place for the 2012-2013 school year.
As part of the state's ESEA flexibility waiver, AYP targets for the 2011-2012 school year were held at the 2010-2011 level. That means that schools, districts and the state were required to have at least 86.7 percent of K-8 students performing at the meets standard level or above on state math assessments in order to achieve AYP. The AYP math target for students in grades 9- 12 was 82.3 percent. In reading, the AYP target for K-8 students was 87.8 percent, and for 9-12 students it was 86 percent.

For the 2011-2012 school year, 1,078, or 80 percent, of the state's 1,356 public schools made AYP. Of Kansas' 286 school districts, 183, or 63 percent, made AYP for the 2011-2012 school year.

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