Disabled students fare no better in Kansas than in the U.S. as a whole

How have Kansas schools performed when it comes to students with disabilities? Here are numbers from the National Assessment of Educational Progress, often called the Nation’s Report Card.  As with the other posts in this series, national numbers are given first, followed by numbers for Kansas, in this format: National/Kansas. An * after the score signifies that there is no significant difference between the state and national numbers.


Grade four

  • Scale score: 189/189 *
  • Percent at proficient or above: 12/10*

Grade eight

  • Scale score: 229/236
  • Percent at proficient or above: 8/6*


Grade four

  • Scale score: 220/227
  • Percent at proficient or above: 19/23 *

Grade eight

  • Scale score: 249/254*
  • Percent at proficient or above : 9/9*


In two of the four tests examined here (reading and math at grades four and eight), Kansas students with disabilities achieved a higher scale score than their compatriots across the country. Yet when Kansas is compared with the rest of the country on terms of the percentage of students who fall into the achievement levels known as “proficient or above” (think of it as a letter grade, compared with the numeric grade of the scale score), there’s no statistically significant difference. The allegedly superior performance of Kansas schools disappears.

* = no significant difference

Under NAEP guidelines, “A student with a disability may need specially designed instruction to meet his or her learning goals. A student with a disability will usually have anIndividualized Education Plan (IEP), which guides his or her special education instruction. Students with disabilities are often referred to as special education students and may be classified by their school as learning disabled (LD) or emotionally disturbed (ED). The goal of NAEP is that students who are capable of participating meaningfully in the assessment are assessed, but some students with disabilities selected by NAEP may not be able to participate, even with the accommodations provided.”

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