School standards in Kansas and other states

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What is the state of education standards in the states? A few voices in Kansas have been raising concern about standards in Kansas, as in my articles Kansas school standards and other states and Kansas has lowered its school standards. Kansas Policy Institute has contributed a policy analysis titled Removing Barriers to Better Public Education: Analyzing the facts about student achievement and school spending. Here’s an article from The Economist:

Here’s a multiple-choice question: if the federal government penalises states where pupils do badly in school, but lets the states themselves set the pass mark, will the states a) make the tests harder; or b) dumb them down?

Historically, the answer has been b). The National Centre for Educational Statistics (NCES), a federal body, looked at how the states’ definitions of “proficiency” at maths and reading compared with its own rigorous one. For grade 4 reading in 2009, not one state held its pupils to as high a standard (see map). Fifteen states labelled a child “proficient” when the NCES would have called her skills “basic”; 35 bestowed that honour on children performing at “below basic” level.

Continue reading at Raising the bar: A battle over school standards.