I Am Shocked, SHOCKED, To Find Gambling Going On Here

by Robert Pondiscio
October 29th, 2009

Researchers at the National Center for Education Statistics have found evidence that “a majority of states may have lowered student-proficiency standards on state tests in recent years.”


  1. I hope that those folks at the NCES will next attack the following vexing and as-yet-unanswered questions:
    1)Is there pornography on the internet?
    2) Does anyone cheat on their taxes?
    3) Do college students under 21 have access to alcohol?

    Comment by Dan Willingham — October 29, 2009 @ 3:05 pm

  2. (snickering) OK, that’s funny.

    But the key questions not answered are *why* states have lowered standards, and whether making standards (and now tests, per EdWeek 10/28) uniform across the country will actually stimulate consistent and uniform progress in student achievement.

    Michigan was an early leader in statewide assessments, back in the 1980s, linked to a detailed curricular framework and standards. The assessments were continuously improved, and began to drive instruction in positive ways (one example: a 5th grade writing test that included multiple drafts). It was expensive, but worth it.

    When NCLB was passed, and testing reading and math was mandated in every grade, 3-8, funding for continuous development of standards, content benchmarks and assessments went toward compliance. Because there were now twice as many tests, they were made cheaper and easier to score. Science and SS went to the back burner, when they were taught at all.

    What irks me about items like the NCES study reportage is that the “unintended consequences” piece is left out, and the general public is left with the idea that states cravenly lowered their standards to make themselves look good.

    Comment by Nancy Flanagan — October 30, 2009 @ 11:35 am

  3. Thank goodness that states will not be able to game the ‘rigorous’ common core state standards as they have their own state versions… or will they? Aren’t the state education leaders, who gamed NCLB, the same folks developing the new standards? Why don’t our leaders short-circuit the confusion by doing away with the pretense of accountability and rechannel the money the money earmarked for a new common core assessment to unemployment insurance benefits. At least, we could give them an ‘A’ for honesty!

    Comment by Steve Kussmann — October 30, 2009 @ 11:46 am

  4. Shocked, huh? Lawrence Uzzell spoke of this back in ’05 in his policy analysis of NCLB for the Cato Institute.

    Comment by Dawn Eason — October 30, 2009 @ 1:56 pm

  5. Per this morning’s NYTimes piece by Sam Dillion:

    The 15 states that lowered one or more standards were Delaware, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wyoming. Eight that raised one or more standards were Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, New York, North Carolina, and Virginia.

    The study found wide variation among states, with standards highest in Massachusetts and South Carolina. Georgia, Oklahoma and Tennessee had standards that were among the lowest.

    Comment by Paul Hoss — October 30, 2009 @ 8:00 pm

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