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BLUEGRASS GRADS: Percentage of Students Graduating College- and Career-Ready Increases in Year Two of Kentucky State Tests Aligned to Common Core State Standards

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“In just three years we’ve gone from only a third of our students being ready for college and career to more than half,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday.

More than half (54.1 percent) of Kentucky’s high school graduates from the Class of 2013 were college- and career-ready, according to new results from the Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessment, which is aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). That percentage represents an increase of 7 percentage points over the 2011–12 school year and an increase of 16 percentage points over 2010–11.

“In just three years we’ve gone from only a third of our students being ready for college and career to more than half,” said Kentucky Education Commissioner Terry Holliday. “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 2010, Kentucky became the first state to adopt the CCSS in English language arts and mathematics; last year, it became the first state to release test score results that were aligned with the CCSS. During the first year of the test, the percentage of students scoring “proficient” or better in reading and math dropped considerably, which was an expected development given that the new tests are much more rigorous than the old tests.

Kentucky tests students in reading, mathematics, science, social studies, writing on demand, and language mechanics. As shown in the table below, the percentage of students scoring at the proficient level or above in reading increased from 46.8 percent to 51.1 percent among middle school students and from 52.2 percent to 55.8 percent among high school students; elementary students’ performance was basically unchanged. In math, more elementary students scored at or above the proficient level; middle school students’ performance was mostly the same; and high school students declined slightly. The strongest gains were at the high school level in social studies and science, and at the middle school level in language mechanics. (Click on the image below for a larger version).

Percentage of Students Performing at Proficient or Above on K-PREP

Percentage of Students Performing at Proficient or Above on K-PREP

“We expect that as students acquire more foundational learning and teachers become more comfortable with teaching the new standards, scores in this area will continue to gain ground,” said Holliday. “The Kentucky Core Academic Standards are harder, more in-depth than previous standards and challenge students to think critically, creatively and to problem solve rather than memorize for a test.”

The complete results are available at http://1.usa.gov/17e0GBZ.

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