The State of Proficiency: How student proficiency rates vary across states, subjects, and grades between 2002 and 2010

Four years ago, Fordham and the Northwest
Evaluation Association (NWEA) teamed up to produce “The
Proficiency Illusion
,” a seminal analysis detailing the gaping
discrepancies in proficiency-rate cut scores across states, grades, and
subjects. Last month, NWEA released a follow-up, adding nine states to its original
analysis in math and eleven states in reading (bringing those totals to
thirty-five and thirty-seven, respectively) and extending the analysis through 2010.
The new results are just as striking as the old. In grade-eight math, for
example, NWEA found a 52-percentile difference between the highest and lowest state
cut scores. And individual states continue to make their tests much harder at
some grade levels than at others—creating significant problems for AYP
determinations, value-added teacher evaluations, and much else. Feel like
digging in? Check out the interactive data
gallery
. Prepare to feel a little ill.

Sarah Durant and Michael Dahlin, “The
State of Proficiency: How student proficiency rates vary across states,
subjects, and grades between 2002 and 2010
,” (Portland, OR: Northwest
Evaluation Association, June 2011).

More By Author