‘Proficiency for All’ Is an Oxymoron

November 28, 2006 1 min read

While the NCLB requirement that all students be proficient by 2014 is an admirable goal, the federal definition of proficiency is inconceivable given the achievement variations between socioeconomic groups, the inexact comparison of achievement across national borders, and conflicting levels of proficiency among the states, authors Richard Rothstein, Rebecca Jacobsen, and Tamara Wilder write in this Education Week Commentary.

Proposals such as crediting gains, extending deadlines, or giving English-language learners more time won’t fix the problem, they say. On the other hand, factoring human variability into accountability might be a good start when it is time to return to the drawing board.

What do you think? Is “proficiency for all” impossible? What should the federal mandate require?

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A version of this news article first appeared in the TalkBack blog.