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Achievement Gap

Published: 12/17/2019 9:11 AM

​When using the term “achievement gap,” The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) means the difference in academic achievement between specific groups of students. While all student groups have improved performance over time, higher performing groups within schools have shown the most improvement. 

For overall accountability, the system in Kentucky is made up of 6 indicators. Schools and districts will be assigned an overall rating of 1-5 stars based on these indicators. An achievement gap is not an indicator in the overall accountability system, however if significant achievement gaps are found in schools and local education agencies (LEA) earning a 4 or 5 star rating, the star rating will be reduced by 1 star.

Achievement Gap is determined through statistical and practical differences that a significant difference/gap exists.

Statistical: Statistical significance shows the mathematical probability that a relationship between two or more variables exist.

Practical: Practical significance refers to relationships between variables with real-world applications.

To determine if a significant achievement gap exists a statistical test calculates between student demographic comparison groups and reference groups for reading and mathematics combined. Credit will be earned based on student performance [Apprentice (A), Proficient (P), and Distinguished (D)] assigned to reading and mathematics scores in grades 3-8 and high school. No credit will be provided for Novice.
A: 0.5 Points
P: 1 Point
D: 1.25 Points

Kentucky requires each reported subpopulation to be based on at least 10 students at each grade/content area tested within a school or district. Taking into consideration the requirements of the Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), this minimum N-count would permit the public disclosure of all data on which calculations are based (except when all students in a given subpopulation score at the same performance level). (page 51 of the ESSA KY State Plan revised March 2019).

KDE DAC Information
Office of Standards, Assessment and Accountability
300 Sower Blvd., 5th Floor
Frankfort, KY 40601
(502) 564-4394

Training Materials

Beginning in 2018-19, an overall 5-star rating will be determined by setting standards for low to high performance on six indicators.


Achievement Gap, though not an indicator, will be used to reduce a 4 or 5 star rating by one star, if significant achievement gaps are found in schools or districts.

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