The Intersection

Study Shows State Proficiency Standards Shift Upward

March 18, 2015

Proficiency standards for the first time have begun to move in the right direction according to the most recent data from National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) and state tests. In the Education Next article, “States Raise Proficiency Standards in Math and Reading,” Paul E. Peterson, editor-in-chief of Education Next and a professor of government at Harvard Kennedy School, and Matthew Ackerman, a research fellow at Harvard Kennedy School, discuss the findings in a new report attributing the rise in proficiency rates to the Common Core State Standards.

In this paper we extend the five prior analyses by identifying the changes in state proficiency standards between 2011 and 2013, the last year for which the relevant information is available. We show that many states have raised their proficiency bars since 2011. Indeed, the 2013 data reveal that for the first time, substantially more states have raised their proficiency standards than have let those standards slip to lower levels. Overall, 20 states strengthened their standards, while just 8 loosened them. In other words, a key objective of the CCSS consortium—the raising of state proficiency standards—has begun to happen.

Still, these advances have been marginal. There is more than enough room for growth, especially among the states that have yet to adopt CCSS.

To read the full article, go here.

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