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June 2, 2006

More on "How States (WI is #1) Inflate Their Progress Under No Child Left Behind"

Alan Borsuk takes a look at and speaks with DPI's Tony Evers on Kevin Carey's report, emailed to this site on 5/20/2006 by a reader involved in these issues:

In an interview, Carey said he agrees that Wisconsin generally is a high-performing state in educating students, "but I do not believe its performance is as good as it says it is." He said the way school officials have dealt with the federal law shows "a clear pattern where Wisconsin consistently refuses to challenge itself."

He compared Wisconsin with Massachusetts, which he said also has high performing students. That state was ranked 39th in the "Pangloss Index," because it has taken a much tougher line on such things as defining "highly qualified" teachers to require demonstrated knowledge in the subject area being taught. Wisconsin has generally defined such teachers by whether they have state licenses.

In a separate analysis, two researchers connected to an education magazine called Education Next analyzed the differences between the percentage of students in each state listed as proficient or better in reading and math on the state's own tests and the percentage in the same categories in the nationwide testing program called the National Assessment of Education Progress. In many states, there is a wide disparity between the two, leading some to argue that states are setting proficiency standards too low.

The two researchers, Paul E. Peterson and Frederick M. Hess, both generally described as conservatives, then gave each state a grade based on how big a difference there was between the state scores and the national scores. The two gave Wisconsin a grade of C-, based on 2005 results. That was better than the D they gave the state for results in 2003.

Sandy Cullen wrote recently " new statewide assessment used to test the knowledge of Wisconsin students forced a lowering of the curve, a Madison school official said.

The results showed little change in the percentages of students scoring at proficient and advanced levels"

Posted by Jim Zellmer at June 2, 2006 6:15 AM
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