(Oh, and why is this a surprise?????)
Standardized Tests’ Measures Of Student Performance Vary Widely: Study
First Posted: 8/10/11 09:30 AM ET Updated: 8/10/11 10:06 AM ET
by Joy Resmovits
The United States has 50 distinct states, which means there are 50 distinct definitions of “proficient” on standardized tests for students.
For example, an Arkansas fourth-grader could be told he is proficient in reading based on his performance on a state exam. But if he moved across the border to Missouri, he might find that’s no longer true, according to a new report.
“This is a really fundamental, interesting question about accountability reform in education,” Jack Buckley, commissioner of the government organization that produced the report, told reporters on a Tuesday conference call.
The report, written by the Education Department’s National Center for Education Statistics, found that the definition of proficiency on standardized tests varies widely among states, making it difficult to assess and compare student performance. The report looked at states’ standards on exams and found that some states set much higher bars for students proficiency in particular subjects.
The term “proficiency” is key because the federal No Child Left Behind law mandates that 100 percent of students must be “proficient” under state standards by 2014 — a goal that has beenuniversally described as impossible to reach.