Pa. ranks below federal standards on school testing

Jul 9, 2015 by

When it comes to the rigor of its expectations for students in grades 4 and 8, Pennsylvania falls short on the federal tests known as the Nation’s Report Card.

According to a study released today by the National Center for Education Statistics, math and reading proficiency levels for fourth- and eighth-graders in Pennsylvania are below those in most states and at the federal level.

Gary Phillips, the vice president of the American Institutes for Research, said in a conference call that expectations for eighth-graders in some low-standard states were similar to those for fourth-graders in high-standard states.

“States are setting wildly different standards, and in many cases, very low standards,” Mr. Phillips said. “It’s important for the [National Assessment of Educational Progress] to stay the course and retain its role as an independent monitor.”

National Center for Education researchers reached their conclusions by comparing state proficiency standards to federal ones. Almost all states administer standardized exams in math and reading to students in grades 4 and 8, with states setting their own benchmarks for what level of performance constitutes “advanced,” “proficient,” “basic” or “below basic” on each test.

Since both the tests and the benchmarks for achievement are different, it is difficult to compare states.

Source: Study says Pa. ranks below federal standards on school testing | Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

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