Education

Fordham: Proficiency Levels Too Low in Early Grades

October 05, 2007 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

I’m a little late to comment on The Proficiency Illusion, released yesterday by the Thomas B. Fordham Foundation. Most of the media coverage (see here, here, and here) and blog comments (see here and here) have focused on the wide variation in states’ definition of proficiency. That’s something that has been evident for a while.

But there’s one other significant finding in the report that has been overlooked: Proficiency appears to be significantly easier to attain in the early grades than in middle school and high school. That may be one of the reasons why Title I middle schools are failing to make AYP at a higher rate than elementary schools, the GAO says in this report. (See pages 17-18.)

The differences in proficiency across grades has implications for the reauthorized NCLB. If states are going to create standards tied to college and workplace readiness (as has been discussed here and here), the biggest changes in the definition of proficiency may happen at the lower grades. For all of the focus on high school reform in recent years, this report suggests that there’s a lot of work to be done on the elementary level as well.

Bonus link: Here’s Fordham’s head honcho opining about the report in today’s Wall Street Journal. (Subscription required.) He says the report means the United States should have national standards. No surprise there.

Bonus personal anecdote: Last year, when my oldest son’s scores on Virginia’s 3rd grade tests arrived, I thought: “Wow, he’s brilliant.” After a conversations with other parents, though, I concluded that the tests were extremely easy. Lots of kids aced them. When my son’s 4th grade scores arrived this summer, he did well, but not nearly as well as the year before. I see no evidence that his intelligence, skills, or mastery of the material changed between 3rd grade and 4th grade. I think it’s the test. Have other parents had this experience?

A version of this news article first appeared in the NCLB: Act II blog.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Webinar
From Chaos to Clarity: How to Master EdTech Management and Future-Proof Your Evaluation Processes
The road to a thriving educational technology environment is paved with planning, collaboration, and effective evaluation.
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Budget & Finance Webinar
Innovative Funding Models: A Deep Dive into Public-Private Partnerships
Discover how innovative funding models drive educational projects forward. Join us for insights into effective PPP implementation.
Content provided by Follett Learning
Budget & Finance Webinar Staffing Schools After ESSER: What School and District Leaders Need to Know
Join our newsroom for insights on investing in critical student support positions as pandemic funds expire.

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: April 17, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read