Inaccurate Data Analysis Defames KCKPS Progress


Contact: David Smith, chief of staff (913) 279-2240

The public is being asked to think twice before believing any national and regional rankings of the Kansas City, Kansas Public Schools (KCKPS) that appear on the internet. In the past few months, inaccurate analysis of data has been used to misrepresent the progress of KCKPS. The public is encouraged to review any such reports skeptically and to confirm the data for themselves.

Most ranking reports show successes and failures of public schools based on standardized state tests. The reports analyze the data from those tests, and compile lists to show best, worst and most improved. However, two years ago KCKPS sought a waiver from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) in order to replace the state test with the ACT exam. Because KCKPS is using a different test at the high school level, KCKPS data cannot be compared to other districts. The change was made in order to provide a more rigorous and meaningful measure of progress.

“We not only want our students to be successful in school, but also after they graduate, and we knew that the state assessments were not giving them a true measure of their preparedness for college and careers,” said Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lane.

KCKPS began administering the ACT as its state accountability exam in 2012. All 11th grade students take the ACT and all 8th grade students take the EXPLORE.

While students across the nation take the ACT for college entrance, it is not administered as a whole to the entire student population; therefore comparing KCKPS with other districts using ACT scores also is not accurate.

“Comparing our district’s data with another’s would be like comparing apples to oranges,” Lane said.

Language posted on KSDE’s state report card site states, “USD 500 Kansas City received a waiver from the US Department of Education which permitted the district to use the ACT and EXPLORE assessments instead of the Kansas reading, mathematics and science assessments in grades 8 and 11.”

KCKPS has made tremendous progress in the last 17 years, progress that has been recognized nationally and that has made KCKPS a leader in school reform.

“Our district has made tremendous gains in student achievement over the last 17 years,” Lane said. “These misleading reports damage our reputation and undermine the hard work and progress of our students and staff.”

For accurate data on the district’s progress, the public should review KSDE report cards online through their website at (click on Kansas K-12 Report Cards).

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Melissa Fears • Communications Office
2010 N. 59th Street • Kansas City, KS 66104 • 913-279-2242