The NCLB limbo: How low can states go?
In September I wrote about students’ test scores being inflated due to individual states setting low standards for passing annual achievement tests. A new study from the National Center for Education Statistics shows that many states have actually lowered their initial standards so that more students will pass these tests. In her story in Education Week, Debra Viadero writes:
Their results suggest that between 2005 and 2007, various states made their standards less rigorous in one or more grade levels or subjects in at least 26 instances. In 12 instances, particular states appeared to make their standards more stringent in one or more grade levels or subjects.
Under the federal No Child Left Behind Act, adopted nearly eight years ago, the states must show that their students have attained proficient levels of performance in reading and mathematics by the end of the 2013-14 school year. Most states are far from reaching that goal.
‘I think as 2014 looms, … clearly what a lot of states are doing is changing the bar so that a lot more students will become proficient,’ said Mark S. Schneider, who served as the NCES commissioner between 2005 to 2008.
The manipulation of proficiency standards across the country is one of the consequences of not having national standards. I am rooting for the U.S. Department of Education as it works with states to develop a set of national standards and assessments.