National education and labor news

Report: States set widely divergent ‘proficiency’ standards

The gap in what students are expected to know in one state may be up to four grade levels behind the expectations set by another state, says an American Institutes for Research report.

The four-grade-level difference in student expectations between Massachusetts, with its rigorous assessments, and what is expected in the states with the lowest standards is twice the size of the national black-white achievement gap, which is two grade levels, the report found.

The report, “International Benchmarking: State Education Performance Standards,” compared proficiency standards in each state in 2007 with international benchmarks used in two international assessments to compare states to each other using a common standard, and to compare U.S. student performance with those of international peers.

 “This is a fundamental flaw in the No Child Left Behind law because it permits states to report high levels of achievement by setting low standards,” said report author Gary Phillips.

Education Week, Oct. 25

American Institutes for Research Press Release, Oct. 25

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