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ERIC Number: EJ910565
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 5
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-1539-9664
State Standards Rise in Reading, Fall in Math
Peterson, Paul E.; Lastra-Anadon, Carlos Xabel
Education Next, v10 n4 p12-16 Fall 2010
Much ado has been made about setting high standards over the past year. Current conversations about creating a common national standard largely focus on the substantive curriculum to be taught at various grade levels. Even more important is each state's expectations for student performance with respect to the curriculum, as expressed through its proficiency standard. Curricula can be perfectly designed, but if the proficiency bar is set very low, little is accomplished by setting the content standards in the first place. To see whether states are setting proficiency bars in such a way that they are "lowballing expectations" and have "lowered the bar" for students in 4th- and 8th-grade reading and math, "Education Next" has used information from the recently released 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) to evaluate empirically the proficiency standards each state has established. This report is the fourth in a series in which the authors periodically assess the rigor of these standards. The 2009 NAEP tests in reading and math were given to a representative sample of students in 4th- and 8th-grade in each state. NAEP, called "the nation's report card," is managed by the Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics and is currently the "gold standard" of assessments. Its proficiency standard is roughly equivalent to the international standard established by those industrialized nations that are members of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). If a state identifies no higher a percentage of students as being proficient on its own tests than NAEP does, then the state can be said to have set its standards at a world-class level. To ascertain objectively whether state standards are high or low, and whether they are rising or falling, the authors compare the percentage of students deemed proficient by each state with the percentage proficient as measured by NAEP. They find that in 2009 the situation improved in reading, but deteriorated further in math. Every state, for both reading and math (with the exception of Massachusetts for math), deems more students "proficient" on its own assessments than NAEP does. The average difference is a startling 37 percentage points. (Contains 2 figures.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: National Assessment of Educational Progress