The Kentucky Department of Education has released statewide data for two tests that show improvements over last year and state officials are pleased with the progress, but say there’s more work to be done.
The EXPLORE and PLAN tests are taken in eighth and tenth grades respectively. The tests measure preparedness for high school and the ACT college entrance exam that all juniors take.
This year there were gains in all four content areas the tests measure: math, English, reading and science. But Education Commissioner Terry Holliday says there are still some areas of concern.
The data shows since 2006 the number of students meeting benchmark scores has steadily crept up. But it also shows that African American male students struggle the most.
KDE policy advisor Jennifer Stafford says the two tests prepare students for the ACT taken junior year, and with some accuracy.
“The EXPLORE scores are predictive to the PLAN and then the PLAN is predictive to the ACT.”
In English, around 67 percent of students met the EXPLORE benchmark, which is up from the previous year when 61 percent of studnets met the benchmark. Science has the lowest scores. Only 19 percent met the EXPLORE benchmark but that’s the first siginificant increase since 2008 when 14 percent met the benchmark.
When compared to the PLAN test which is taken two years later, around 67 percent of 10th graders met the benchmarks for English and 21 percent for science.
Students and districts already have their individual results. Stafford says parents and schools are encouraged to use the data to target areas where students may be struggling.
“You have almost two years of instruction so that with additional coursework or better study habits a student can do better on the ACT.”
To see a profile of the state scores provided by KDE click here.