In 2011, when Kentucky became the first state to release test score results that were aligned with the Common Core State Standards, the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or better in reading and math dropped considerably—an expected development given that the new tests are more rigorous than the old tests. Ever since, however, Kentucky has reaped the benefits from its commitment to higher standards; the percentage of Kentucky high school graduates ready for college and a career jumped from 34 percent in 2010 to 62.3 percent in 2014.
“The statewide data clearly show we are making progress, though slower than we would like,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “In just three years we’ve gone from only a third of our students being ready for college and career to more than half. That’s around 8,000 students who now have a much better shot at getting a good job, paying taxes and becoming self-sufficient Kentuckians.”
In addition to gains in college readiness, Kentucky has seen its overall student performance improve as the percentages of students reaching proficient and distinguished levels have increased in nearly every subject at every grade level. The state has also seen its high school graduation rate increase from 77.8 percent in 2012 to 87.4 percent in 2014 while the composite scores on the ACT posted by Kentucky’s high school juniors increased from 18.3 percent in 2008 to 19.4 percent in 2014.
“As we are seeing in Kentucky, a concerted effort over time to align instruction, curriculum, and assessment around the Common Core State Standards will improve student achievement and college and career readiness,” said Bob Wise, president of the Alliance for Excellent Education and former governor of West Virginia. “We’re overdue for a national moment of patience, while we allow schools to continue the hard work of Common Core implementation, because no major change happens overnight. We owe it to our educators and to our students to take the time to do this right, and look to Kentucky as they continue to demonstrate how it’s done—and even more significantly, show the real benefits for students.”
More on Kentucky’s student performance data is available at http://1.usa.gov/Zkmv6m.