States Set Widely Varying 'Proficiency' Bars
What students are expected to know in order to reach proficiency levels on exams in some states may be as much as four grade levels below the standards set in the states with the most rigorous assessments, according to a study by the American Institutes for Research that uses international testing data to gauge states against a common measuring stick.
Released today, the report by the Washington-based research group makes a case for states, as they collaborate on common standards, to use national and international benchmarking to make cutoff scores more demanding and improve the descriptions of what it means for students to be proficient in reading and mathematics at each grade level.
The researchers used National Assessment of Educational Progress benchmarks to compare each state’s standards against the benchmarks for the same subjects used in two international assessments, the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study, or TIMSS, and the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study, or PIRLS, during 2007, the most recent year all three types of assessments were administered. Researchers then analyzed the percentage of students in each state who would meet minimum proficiency according to their state standards and...
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