Kentucky has recorded a decline in the number of public schools that made “adequate yearly progress” last year on achievement tests required under the federal No Child Left Behind program, according to results released Wednesday.
Those scores, released by the Kentucky Department of Education, show that 60 percent of the state’s 1,157 public schools met their educational goals last school year. That was down from nearly 73 percent the year before.
“This is only one measure of a school’s success,” said Lisa Gross, a spokeswoman for the Department of Education. “So even though the data is important and does show us things, people should not see this as some sort of final judgment on a school.”
While there were 461 schools that did not reach their goals, nearly 230 of them attained at least 80 percent. (Individual scores from the Letcher County and Jenkins Independent districts will appear in next week’s edition.)
The numbers are based on Kentucky Core Content Test results in math and reading which Kentucky students took last spring.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, which was signed into law in January 2002, schools are required to reach math and reading proficiency by 2014.
Seventy-five of Kentucky’s 175 school districts reached 100 percent of their goals for the year. Of the 100 districts that did not, 78 attained at least 80 percent of their goals.
Statewide, 106 schools and 72 school districts are facing some form of consequences available under federal law for consistently not meeting their goals. Consequences can range from parental notification and school choice implementation to alternate school governance in the most severe instances.
At different grade levels, 78 percent met all their goals, nearly 38 percent of middle schools and nearly 20 percent of Kentucky’s public high schools met their NCLB goals, according to a press release.
Kentucky students at nearly every grade level performed better in most subject areas than compared to the year before, Gross said.
It’s becoming increasingly difficult, as the bar gets higher, for schools to meet the NCLB goals, Gross said. That’s a trend that’s likely to continue through 2014, she said.
But the test scores are not the final measuring stick of a school or a district, Gross said.
“If you’re a parent, it may be more important to you that your child is happy, that you have a good rapport with the teachers and the principal, that your child seems to be learning at an acceptable pace,” Gross said. “All of those kinds of things that are really hard to quantify may be more important to a parent than some rating or test score.”