Standards

Missouri Board Eases Test Targets

By Lynn Olson — January 31, 2006 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

Some experts have worried that the federal No Child Left Behind Act will spur states to lower their standards so that more schools meet annual performance targets—and they’re pointing to Missouri as proof.

The Missouri board of education approved new standards for its state tests last month that should result in more students scoring “proficient” and “advanced” at some grade levels this year. Committees of educators and citizens developed the unanimously approved guidelines.

Commissioner of Education D. Kent King recommended the changes—the first since the tests became mandatory for all public schools in 1998—calling them “both rigorous and reasonable.”

But not everyone agrees.

“It’s a classic example of the kind of dumbing-down pressures” evident in education, said J. Martin Rochester, a distinguished teaching professor of political science at the University of Missouri at St. Louis. “The state tests have been pretty rigorous … and basically the educators have decided that’s too high.”

The Show Me State revised its performance standards, in part, because it has added tests in additional grades and subjects this year to comply with the federal act.

The law requires states to administer reading and mathematics tests in grades 3-8 and at least once in high school starting this school year. Until now, Missouri has tested math in grades 4, 8, and 10; and reading/ communication arts in grades 3, 7, and 11.

In addition, a 2004 state law required state education officials to align the Missouri Assessment Program more closely with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, a congressionally mandated testing program.

The new standards are intended to ensure that at least 40 percent of students score at least at the proficient level.

“My worry is that if we’ve changed the level of proficiency just to make school districts, including my own, look better, that’s kind of a false sense of accomplishment,” said Robert E. Bartman, the superintendent of the 2,400-student Center No. 58 School District, and a former state schools chief.

Events

School Climate & Safety K-12 Essentials Forum Strengthen Students’ Connections to School
Join this free event to learn how schools are creating the space for students to form strong bonds with each other and trusted adults.
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
IT Infrastructure & Management Webinar
Future-Proofing Your School's Tech Ecosystem: Strategies for Asset Tracking, Sustainability, and Budget Optimization
Gain actionable insights into effective asset management, budget optimization, and sustainable IT practices.
Content provided by Follett Learning
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

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

Standards Florida's New African American History Standards: What's Behind the Backlash
The state's new standards drew national criticism and leave teachers with questions.
9 min read
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference at the Celebrate Freedom Foundation Hangar in West Columbia, S.C. July 18, 2023. For DeSantis, Tuesday was supposed to mark a major moment to help reset his stagnant Republican presidential campaign. But yet again, the moment was overshadowed by Donald Trump. The former president was the overwhelming focus for much of the day as DeSantis spoke out at a press conference and sat for a highly anticipated interview designed to reassure anxious donors and primary voters that he's still well-positioned to defeat Trump.
Florida Governor and Republican presidential candidate Ron DeSantis speaks during a press conference in West Columbia, S.C., on July 18, 2023. Florida officials approved new African American history standards that drew national backlash, and which DeSantis defended.
Sean Rayford/AP
Standards Here’s What’s in Florida’s New African American History Standards
Standards were expanded in the younger grades, but critics question the framing of many of the new standards.
1 min read
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida State Board of Education in the teaching of Black history.
Vice President Kamala Harris speaks at the historic Ritz Theatre in downtown Jacksonville, Fla., on July 21, 2023. Harris spoke out against the new standards adopted by the Florida state board of education in the teaching of Black history.
Fran Ruchalski/The Florida Times-Union via AP
Standards Opinion How One State Found Common Ground to Produce New History Standards
A veteran board member discusses how the state school board pushed past partisanship to offer a richer, more inclusive history for students.
10 min read
Image shows a multi-tailed arrow hitting the bullseye of a target.
DigitalVision Vectors/Getty
Standards The Architects of the Standards Movement Say They Missed a Big Piece
Decisions about materials and methods can lead to big variances in the quality of instruction that children receive.
4 min read
Image of stairs on a blueprint, with a red flag at the top of the stairs.
Feodora Chiosea/iStock/Getty