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Do high grade-level expectations make students brilliant? Not necessarily

Do high grade-level expectations make students brilliant? Not necessarily

Maps created by The Hechinger report compare grade levels in classrooms of all 50 states.


POSTED August 20, 2015 7:49 a.m.
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Favorite foods, catch phrases and emojis aren't the only things difficult to predict from state to state.

The National Center for Education Statistics released its "Mapping State Proficiency Standards Onto NAEP Scales: Results from the 2013 NAEP Reading and Mathematics Assessments" report July 9. Above all, the findings show expectations in classrooms across the 50 states vary by multiple grade levels, Jill Barshay reported for The Hechinger Report.

"I found that 26 states set expectations that were three or more grade levels behind the eighth-grade standards of New York State, the state that had set the highest expectations back in 2013, as an early adopter of Common Core," Barshay wrote.

The NAEP used eighth-grade reading and math expectations as its benchmark. States like Wisconsin's and North Carolina's reading expectations were equal or one grade behind New York, while Kansas, Idaho and Alabama sat four to five grades behind.

So are New York students just brilliant?

No more so than students in the rest of the county, though the findings seem to hint as much, Barshay continued.

"It’s worth emphasizing that these are not measurements of how kids are actually doing. New York’s students, on average, aren’t high-performing at all," she wrote. "Eighth graders (in) nearly 30 states scored better than this high-expectations state in 2013. This report measures where each state sets its own proficiency mark on its own state test. Some tests are much easier than others."

Sure, the NAEP's findings don't pinpoint where the nation's most intelligent students reside, but it does provide a necessary yardstick, said Peggy Carr, National Center for Education Statistics acting commissioner, according to The Huffington Post.

“Policymakers ... want to be able to compare state progress and state performance standards, but because they are all different, a common yardstick is necessary to make comparisons,” Carr said.
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