Today the National Center for Education Statistics released its Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales report. The full report is available here.
The goal of the report is to highlight any changes in the way states report levels of academic proficiency in fourth and eighth grades.
The report does not include Nebraska or Utah, neither of which has reported any data for 2007.
In grade 4 reading, 31 states set the standard for Proficient lower than the Basic level of the NAEP; in the grade 8 tests, 15 states did. Math was not quite so skewed, only 7 states did this in grade 4 math and 8 did on grade 8 math.
In comparing state standards, the skill levels that the five most rigorous states report as Basic is the same level as what the five least rigorous states report as Proficient.So a student who received Proficient in reading in Connecticut would actually have only scored as Basic in any of the top states. Below is a table that shows the most and least rigorous states.
The top and bottom five states in eighth grade reading and math standards
There is no correlation, though, between having rigorous standards and proficiency of students on the NAEP test. Just because a state has low standards, doesn't mean that the students are performing at a lower level, it just means that the education department of that state has set low standards.
Only 34 of the states have data from both 2005 and 2007. Of those, 25 lowered their 8th grade reading proficiency standards and 24 lowered their 8th grade math proficiency standards.
The 5 states that lowered their standards the most in 8th grade reading and math
You know, about one third of the students entering ninth grade this year will graduate in four years with the skills and knowledge to go on to college or get a skilled job. Another third will graduate, but not possess those skills. And the final third will not graduate and also will not have the skills.
How are we addressing that problem?
The mapping report points out that most state education departments are setting low achievement goals for their students. And they are lowering even these standards.
On a completely different note, we'll be at the SIIA Ed Tech Business Forum in NY on Nov. 30 to Dec. 1. It's a great event and hope to see you there.