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November 4th, 2009
05:00 PM ET

Not all tests are created equal: A sample question

Editor's Note: A new federal study shows that nearly one-third of states may have lowered their academic proficiency standards in recent years – a move that helps schools stay immune from sanctions under the No Child Left Behind law. The Department of Education study found that 15 states lowered their proficiency standards at the middle school level in basic subjects from 2005 to 2007. Were schools allowed to lower standards? And why? Randi Kaye is keeping them honest tonight. AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute

The tests that states use to measure academic progress under the No Child Left Behind Act are creating a false impression of success, especially in reading and especially in the early grades.

The Thomas B. Fordham Institute did an evaluation of the tests.

Take a look at a few sample questions from Wisconsin and Massachusetts here.


Filed under: Education
soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    You know not all schools are created equal when the first thing a couple with children moving to a new area does is find out where the best schools are and then moves to that district. You know as a substitute teacher and as a parent that not all tests are equal when one school's children have a better grasp of reading comprehension and math skills along with science skills just from comparing notes with other parents, visiting the school (or working there as a substitute). NCLB did nothing for our school standards – the disparity between schools just continues to grow. Our country's population is becoming dumber and not smarter – we need to turn this around or we are going to be the ex-Great United States not only intellectually but socially, financially, and technologically.

    November 4, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  2. Chris

    Our 6 y/o son whom is in 1st grade reads at the 4th grade level. Why you might ask, its because we sit down with him and push him to work hard. When we met his teacher and were told the requirements for his grade level I almost puked...what a joke, counting to twenty, ABC's, and some minor reading.

    Our son wants to become a paleontologist so he has pushed himself to read about all kinds of animals, plants, and other interesting creatures. But here it Texas, required reading is the bible, NRA pamphlets, and the alaphabet. No wonder some people just walk away rather than debate with others, they have no skills in debate and confuse a common issues with personal bias.

    November 4, 2009 at 3:51 pm |
  3. Barry in Texas

    If American schools would teach fewer concepts in each subject, and teach them well, our standards would be higher. When you compair our Math curriculum, with say Japan, we teach twice as many concepts in a year as they do, and with a shorter school year, and shorter school days. End result, our kids know a little of this, and some of that, but not anything really well. So it's off to summer school, and then pass on to the next grade, where it starts all over again. This will go on, and on, because it's the American education way to do things. We all know it's broken, but what can you do about it? Nothing!

    November 4, 2009 at 3:42 pm |
  4. wsb-bethesda, md

    Was NCLB a farce?

    In the words of the great political philosopher Cenk Uygur, "Of Course!"

    NCLB was never about educating children, it was about siphoning public funds away from public schools and putting it in private hands.

    November 4, 2009 at 2:49 pm |