The National Center for Education Statistics just released the report Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto the NAEP Scales: Variation and Change in State Standards for Reading and Mathematics, 2005-2009. This report compares the standards that states use in reporting 4th- and 8th- grade reading and mathematics proficiency using NAEP as a common metric.
Here's the gist of the report and why I use the word discouraging in the title of this post.
There is wide variation among state proficiency standards.
- In 2009, using NAEP as common metric, standards for proficient performance in reading and mathematics varied across states in terms of the levels of achievement required. For example, for grade 4 reading, the difference in the level required for proficient performance between the five states with the highest standards and the five with the lowest standards was comparable to the difference between Basic and Proficient performance on NAEP.
Most states’ proficiency standards are at or below NAEP’s definition of Basic performance.
- In grade 4 reading, 35 of the 50 states included in the analysis set standards for proficiency (as measured on the NAEP scale) that were lower than the scale score for Basic performance on NAEP and another 15 were in the NAEP Basic range.
- In grade 4 mathematics, 7 of the 50 states included in the analysis set standards for proficiency (as measured on the NAEP scale) that were lower than the Basic performance on NAEP, 42 were in the NAEP Basic range, and one in the Proficient range.
Are you interested in seeing where your state fell in this mix? Here are some graphics of the fourth grade results to help you better understand. Click to enlarge.