The Kentucky Department of Education released the results of ACT tests taken by Kentucky Juniors this year (2009). State statute mandates that all Kentucky high school juniors take the ACT test. The composite score for all students fell very slightly from the previous year’s cohort—18.3 to 18.2. There were no noteable increases or decreases in composite scores for any subgroups of students (i.e., African-American, American Indian, Caucasian). What is troubling, however, is the significant gap that remains between the scores of students of color and their white counterparts. This years results show a three (3) point difference between the composite scores of African-American and white juniors, and nearly a two (2) point difference between the composite scores of Hispanic and white juniors. Hispanic juniors trailed their white classmates by 2.8 points in English, 1.2 points in mathematics, and 2 points in Reading. The discrepancies were even greater for African-American students. African-American juniors’ scores trailed white juniors by 3.7 points in English, 2.4 points in mathematics, and 3.2 points in reading.
Is this surprising? Sadly, no.
Why did I write this post? Because “we” have yet to take the steps necessary to ameliorate these shameful gaps.
Who is “we”? We is all of us. From state education leaders, to school leaders, to teachers, to students, to parents, to communities, we are all responsible for this lack of progresss. The ACT test score gap betweem students of color and white students did not worsen from 2008 to 2009, but it didn’t improve either. My only hope is that “we” have not come to the point of being satisfied with the way things are and no longer strive to make things what they ought to be.