School & District Management

Study Finds Wide Variations in Test Cutoffs for ‘Proficient’

By Catherine Gewertz — October 26, 2010 1 min read

As states work together to design assessments for the new common standards, one of the aims is to establish a shared definition of what it means to be proficient in math and English/language arts. A new study of states’ proficiency cutoffs reminds us that we have quite a stretch of road to travel to get to that point.

The study, released yesterday by the American Institutes for Research, uses benchmarks from international tests to document the size of the differences among states in what they expect students to know. It finds that expectations for students in one state might be as much as four grade levels lower than what’s expected in another state.

My colleague Sarah Sparks explains it all for you here, and also links you to the report itself.

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