States Trying To Raise Bar in Math & Reading…without Success

States Trying To Raise Bar in Math & Reading…without Success

Hi, I’m Luke Lee, the owner of Enopi Bridgewater.

Below is an atricle from Wall Street Journal showing how the States are trying to raise the standard on Math and Reading…but just cannot because most of the test scores are below average.

We have to understand why the States are trying to raise the bar first.

US standard of education is falling behind against other countries, especially against Asian countries. And the efficiency of the educational investments are deminishing. Therefore, US has been spending more money but falling behind other countries.  With the recession putting more strain on the educational investments, this is an uphill battle. Public education is certainly not meeting the expectations.

I have a personal passion to fill that gap.

Luke Lee


States Fail to Raise Bar in Reading, Math Tests


Eight states have raised their standards for passing elementary-school math and reading tests in recent years, but these states and most others still fall below national benchmarks, according to a federal report released Wednesday.



The data help explain the disconnect between the relatively high pass rates on many state tests and the low scores on the national exams, known as the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

In fourth-grade reading, for example, 35 states set passing bars that are below the “basic” level on the national NAEP exam. “Basic” means students have a satisfactory understanding of material, as opposed to “proficient,” which means they have a solid grasp of it. Massachusetts is the only state to set its bar at “proficient”—and that was only in fourth- and eighth-grade math.

The report from the National Center for Education Statistics, an arm of the U.S. Department of Education, is certain to reinvigorate calls to overhaul No Child Left Behind. Critics of the federal education law, including U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, contend states watered down their exams to meet the law’s requirement that 100% of students taking state math and reading exams are passing by 2014.

Mr. Duncan, impatient with Congressional inaction on revamping the law, promised this week to relax the 100% rule if states adopt higher academic standards and adopt other education overhauls he favors.

Joanne Weiss, chief of staff to Mr. Duncan, called the report the “truth teller” and said it showed that “low expectations are the norm” in too many states.

“Fifty different bars are not good for kids, especially as we move toward global competitiveness,” she said.

The report, produced every two years since 2003, translates the passing score on a state exam given during the 2008-09 school year to a score on the NAEP given in 2009. States have consistently set standards that are lower than the national ones, the reports have shown.

The report shows huge disparities among the standards states set when their tests are converted to the NAEP’s 500-point scale. In eighth-grade reading, for example, there is a 60-point difference between Texas, which has the lowest passing bar, and Missouri, which has the highest, according to the data. In eighth-grade math, there is a 71-point spread between the low, Tennessee, and the high, Massachusetts.

The eight states that tightened standards between 2007 and 2009 were Indiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Mississippi, South Dakota, West Virginia, Georgia and New Jersey. New Jersey also lowered its standards on one test.

South Carolina was the only state to drop standards on every math and reading exam during the study period. Jay Ragley, spokesman for the South Carolina Department of Education, said the newly elected state superintendent of education, Mick Zais, plans to push state officials to boost proficiency standards. “The NAEP report confirms his concern that the education establishment worked to lower South Carolina standards under the guise of developing a new statewide accountability test,” Mr. Ragley said.

In Massachusetts, Mitchell Chester, state education commissioner of Massachusetts, said his state, which also posts higher than average scores on the national exam, created a plan to “aim high, make sure results count” by holding schools accountable for results and targeting support to help them succeed.

The federal report relies on data from 2009, so it doesn’t include states that have raised the testing bar since then, such as New York and Tennessee.

Gene Wilhoit, executive director of the Council of Chief State School Officers, pointed out that more than 40 states recently adopted the Common Core, a rigorous set of standards pushed by the nation’s governors and school chiefs. These states have yet to revise their tests to reflect these stricter requirements.

“States saw that the expectation gap is real and many moved to remedy that,” Mr. Wilhoit said.

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