Low-income Kansas students outscore national average–perhaps

How do Kansas schools do in educating students from l0w-income families?

Reading

Grade 4

  • Scale score: 206/213
  • At or above proficient:  17/22

Grade 8

  • Scale score: 249/255
  • At or above proficient: 16/19*

Mathematics

Grade 4

  • Scale score: 228/236
  • At or above proficient: 22/32

Grade 8

  • Scale score: 266/276
  • At or above proficient: 17/24

* Denotes “not significantly different.”

Analysis

When it comes to students from low-income families, Kansas scores higher on the proficiency scale on four out of the four tests. When we look at the percentage of students who score “at or above proficiency,” Kansas scores higher in three out of the four tests.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that the proficiency levels are hardly spectacular: In the best test, 32 percent of fourth-grade students from low-income families score “at or above proficient” in mathematics. That means two-thirds of them score below grade level.

And that’s for the best subject.

Consider also the data from other groups: Whites, blacks, hispanics, English-language learners, and students with disabilities, in which Kansas has a so-so record. I think it’s fair to say that its “good” performance among students from low-income families is, like its performance overall, an artifact of its whiter-than-average population.

What’s special about Kansas? When it comes to the performance of its public schools, very little.

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