The Kentucky Department of Education released the results of Kentucky high school juniors’ spring ACT scores today. Since 2008, the ACT has been administered to high juniors across the commonwealth as a way of measuring students’ readiness for college. There were modest increases in scores from last year in English (17.3 to 17.8), mathematics (18.2 to 18.3), reading (18.4 to 18.9), and science (18.5 to 18.7). Male and female students’ scores were rougly even.
Racial achievement gaps, however, persist. For example, black students’ scores lag behind white students by 3.4 points in English, 2.1 points in math, 4 points in reading, and a 2 points in science. Black students’ composite score lags behind white students’ composite by 3.2 points (15.8 versus 19). But in addition to the black/white racial achievement gap, black students’ scores also continue to lag behind those of American Indian, Hispanic, and Asian American/Pacific Islander students.
My purpose is only to draw attention to the scores, so I refrain from editorializing. There has been enough of that. I will say, however, that the gaps are absolutely unacceptable. Much remains to be desired with Kentucky’s scores overall, but for me, the persisting achievement gaps are even more upsetting. Personally, I am sad, outraged, disappointed, and motivated all at once. These scores are part of mounting evidence that we continue to fail our children. This failure lies at the feet of us all; yes schools, but also parents, communities, and higher education institutions. There is so much that can and should be done, but we choose not to do it. Again, we choose not to do it.