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tiny pieceWashington Postnew study
States are aiming particularly low when it comes to their expectations for younger children, setting elementary students up to fail as they progress through their academic careers. The central flaw in NCLB is that it allows each state to set its own definition of what constitutes "proficiency." By mandating that all students reach "proficiency" by 2014, it tempts states to define proficiency downward. Although there has not been a "race to the bottom," with the majority of states dramatically lowering standards under pressure from NCLB, the report did find a "walk to the middle," as some states with high standards saw their expectations drop toward the middle of the pack. In most states, math tests are consistently more difficult to pass than reading tests. Eighth-grade tests are sharply harder to pass in most states than those in earlier grades (even after taking into account obvious differences in subject-matter complexity and children's academic development).
The study looked at about half the states in which students from third through eighth grades took state math and reading exams in addition to another test called the Measure of Academic Progress, conducted by the nonprofit Northwest Evaluation Association [a collaborator on the report]. ...[T]he study estimated that 93 percent of students who took the MAP exam would have passed Colorado's third-grade reading test, while 39 percent would have passed California's. [emphasis mine]
of courseMichelle Cottle