And you thought Florida was bad
According to the FCAT, 69 percent of Florida fourth-graders were proficient in math in 2007. According to an internationally benchmarked common standard, 41 percent were.
A problem? No doubt. There's a whole lot of feel-good, false impressions being given by standardized tests in Florida and across the country, according to this new study by the American Institutes for Research.
For what it's worth, the problem is worse in many other states. In Alabama, 78 percent of fourth-graders are proficient in math, according to that state's test; but only 26 percent are according to a common standard. In Colorado, the gap is 91 to 40. In Maryland it's 86 to 40.
The one exception: Massachusetts.
There, 49 percent were proficient on the state test, while 63 percent were proficient on the common standard.
AIR concluded that the gap between what students are expected to know to be proficient in the most rigorous states versus the lamest states are twice as big as the achievement gap between black and white students. It pins the blame on No Child Left Behind, which allowed each state to set its own proficiency standards.
Will national standards make things better or worse?