We now know why the Kansas-controlled test scores have risen: The Kansas State Department of Education has lowered standards. Kansas Policy Institute has done the research.
In Removing Barriers to Better Public Education, updated in June with new data, KPI concludes: “In 2000 and 2001 a student needed at least 87% correct answers in Reading to be Proficient (the second-highest performance level), but from 2002 through 2005 they only needed 80% correct answers to be Proficient (the third highest level) on the same test; Proficiency in Math required only 48% correct answers, down from 60%. … There is also good reason to believe that standards were further reduced in 2006, when KSDE created a new assessment and cut scores along with revised performance categories with new definitions.”
It’s not only KPI that has noticed that Kansas schools have low standards. Data from U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) reveals that Kansas has low standards for its schools, compared to other states.