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Student Proficiency

"International Benchmarking: State and National Education Performance Standards"

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What U.S. states expect students to know varies widely and often falls short of international standards for learning, a new report from the American Institutes for Research shows.

Gary Phillips, a vice president at the AIR, examined the share of students meeting proficiency standards in reading, mathematics, and science in every state. He used international benchmarks to grade states by statistically linking state tests to the state National Assessment of Educational Progress, then linking national NAEP data to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study or the Progress in International Reading Literacy Study data.

The results revealed large gaps. For instance, Georgia considered 87 percent of its 8th graders proficient in math in 2011, but international measures showed just 24 percent were proficient. On the other end of the spectrum, 35 percent of Tennessee's 8th graders met its state math standards, but only 21 were considered proficient by international measures.

States reporting the highest percentage of proficient students had set the bar the lowest. More than two-thirds of the difference in state success is related to how high or low the states set their performance standards, according to the report.

Vol. 34, Issue 06, Page 5

Published in Print: October 1, 2014, as Student Proficiency
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