Looking for the education equalizer, struggling district follows trend to put iPads in students' hands

10/02/2013 11:36 AM

Kentucky educators are now hoping better use of technology can be the great equalizer it improving student achievement, especially in districts like Newport Independent in Northern Kentucky.

Newport is hoping to follow the lead of Woodford County, which three years ago became Kentucky’s first district to require students to use iPads in class.

But it’s a tale of two school districts between Newport and Woodford County. Woodford County is one of the most well-off areas in the state, while most of Newport’s students qualify for free or reduced lunches. And the students’ test scores show a similar gulf between the districts, although both showed improvement from last year in the latest round.

Here’s how they’ve been used in Woodford County and how Newport hopes they will help there:

Woodford County High School improved more than 6 points in the latest Kentucky Performance Rating for Educational Progress (K-PREP) assessment tests.
The Central Kentucky high school, which was designated as a “School of Distinction” by the Kentucky Department of Education, went from a score of 63.3 in the 2011-12 school year to 69.7 this past school year. The state average is 60.3.

Meanwhile, Newport High School, which has a “Priority School” designation, saw its test scores improve 3.6 points from 48.2 to 51.8.

“We’re still not where we want to be yet,” said Newport principal Tony Watts.

Don Weber

Don Weber is a Video Journalist for Spectrum News and covers politics and education on Pure Politics, Kentucky’s only nightly program dedicated to state politics. Don is a lifelong Kentuckian and a graduate of Northern Kentucky University. He spent many years covering sports in the Northern Kentucky area before shifting primarily to politics. You can watch Don’s work weeknights at 7:00 and 11:30 on Pure Politics, available exclusively on Spectrum News, HD Channels 403 and 715. If you have a story idea you can reach Don at donald.weber@charter.com.

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