By Roger Cornish
KWCH 12 Eyewitness News
4:47 PM CDT, October 1, 2012
Kansas education officials say the achievement gap between rich and poor and minority and non-minority students grew less this year than initially thought.
The Kansas State Department of Education has updated statewide information on the 2011-2012 Building Report Card to reflect results only for students who took state-administered assessments after discovering a calculation error related to three districts that were allowed to use ACT assessments in place of state assessments.
The revised statewide results still show a widening achievement gap among some populations after 11 straight years of closing the gap, however the drop off in performance is not as severe as originally reported.
The districts in question- McPherson, Clifton-Clyde and the Kansas City Kansas School District - received approval earlier this year from the U.S. Department of Education to use the ACT EXPLORE exam in place of state assessments in grade eight, and the ACT college entrance exam in place of state assessments in high school.
This is the second year the McPherson School District has been administering the ACT exams in place of state assessments at those grade levels.
In order to include results for eighth grade and high school students from those districts in the statewide results, ACT mapped scores for those students to either the "meets standard" performance level or the "approaches standard" performance level within the state assessment system.
Those scores had to be calculated separately from the state assessment data and it was within that calculation that the error occurred.
The result of the error was to inflate the number of students in those grades who did not participate on state assessments.
Essentially, results for those students appeared twice in the state assessment report - once indicating non participation in state assessments and again reflecting their scores on the ACT assessments.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)
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