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Left Behind in Education-- Is your states education testing misleading you and your child? (Why Testing Standards Aren't Standard At All)
On the surface it sounds great; give states local control of the education process. "50 states, 50 standards, 50 tests" was the strategy adopted by Congress and the current administration. One problem: the approach hasn't improved student achievement. Test results by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reveal why varying individual state standards and tests are inadequate. Almost all states report large proportions of their students meet the high standards demanded of No Child Left Behind legislation, yet federal test scores tell a far different story. Apparently, many states have embraced low standards and the practice of grade inflation.
In New York, nearly 85% of its 4th graders meet state math standards, yet only 36% tested proficient on the national assessment. Georgia claims that 87% of its 4th graders are proficient in reading, but only 26% are proficient on the national exam. Tennessee asserts that 88% of its 8th graders are proficient readers, but 26% met that mark on the federal test. These states are not alone.
Why the Discrepancies?
In No Child Left Behind, each state developed its own standards and tests. Federal tests, however, serve as an external gauge of national and state achievement—guidelines developed by long-term research and development standards aligned with international education standards. "Many states model their testing on the national program, but still cling to lower standards for fear of alienating the public and embarrassing public officials responsible for education."
The Nation at Risk
"The National Academy of Sciences released a report warning that our nation's 'strategic and economic security,' as well as our leadership in the development of new technologies, is at risk unless we invest heavily in our human capital; that is, the education of our people." This is an unreachable goal if we accept mediocre performance and label it "proficient" or pretend that math in Delaware is different from math in Virginia or China. "Our 4th grade students generally do well when compared with their peers in other nations, but 8th grade students are only average globally, and 12th graders score near the bottom in comparison with students in many European and Asian nations." When measured in science, technology, or math, most American students don't know enough to contribute to the developing knowledge-based society. States aren't compelled to compete with each other, so it's easy to maintain more achievable standards that can be reported to meet the public's satisfaction. "America will not begin to meet the challenge of developing the potential of our students until we have accurate reporting about their educational progress."
How Does it Impact You?
If you suspect a problem as your child goes through school, you may not be able to get the whole story based on your state's standardized testing. Therefore, many parents are turning to private education services and training centers for testing and supplemental help. Three types of testing are generally available: Cognitive skills testing measures the student's core ability to learn and can pinpoint the root causes of persistent learning problems. Achievement tests measure proficiency in specific subjects and can alert parents to holes in their children's education.
If you believe there is unrealized learning potential in yourself or someone you love, a simple cognitive skills test could be the key to unlock that potential. At LearningRx, we offer such testing as a wise and affordable first step. Please give us a call today. We can answer your questions and help test and strengthen skills that can lead to that brighter future..
Disclaimer: Internet Special Education Resources (ISER) provides this information in an effort to help parents find local special education professionals and resources. ISER does not recommend or endorse any particular special education referral source, special educational methodological bias, type of special education professional, or specific special education professional.
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