Proficient vs. Prepared: Disparities between State Tests and the 2013 National Assessment of Educational Progress NAEPReport as inadecuate

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Today's economy demands that all young people develop high-level literacy, quantitative reasoning, problem solving, communication, and collaboration skills, all grounded in a rigorous and content-rich K-12 curriculum. Acquiring these skills ensures that high school graduates are academically prepared to pursue the future of their choosing. Frequently, states' testing and reporting processes yield significantly different results than the data collected and reported by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP). While NAEP, the Nation's Report Card, scores are the gold standard for measuring student achievement and serve as a yardstick for state comparisons, NAEP results are generally not known by students and their families, who rely on their state test results to know how they are performing. While no single test can show everything necessary to understand about how a student is performing in school, test scores along with information about a student's work in the classroom give families the information they need to know about a student's progress. Far too often, state test results mislead the public about whether students are proficient. Parents, students, and teachers deserve transparency and accuracy in public reporting. Findings include the following: (1) Over half of states' discrepancies in state vs. 2013 NAEP results are more than 30 percentage points; (2) Too many states are saying students are "proficient" when they are not actually well prepared. (NAEP defines proficiency as "solid academic performance" for each grade assessed. Students reaching this level have demonstrated competency over challenging subject matter, including subject-matter knowledge, application of such knowledge to real-world situations, and analytical skills approximate to the subject matter."); and (3) A number of states have been working to address proficiency gaps; this year, even more will do so by administering the college- and career-ready-aligned Smarter Balanced and Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessments. Fourth grade reading results and 8th grade math results are highlighted in this report; it is essential to learn to read by 4th grade to be able to read to learn moving forward, and 8th grade math proficiency indicates that a student is prepared for higher-level math in high school. Additional 2013-14 Comparison Charts and all 2012-13 State Proficiency Rate Comparison Charts are appended.

Descriptors: Academic Achievement, Standardized Tests, Scores, State Standards, Competence, Grade 4, Grade 8, Reading Achievement, Mathematics Achievement, Geographic Location

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Author: Achieve, Inc.


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