Math and reading standards in Louisiana and many other states are below those set on the nation’s report card, according to a study released Wednesday.
That means states are claiming fourth- and eighth-graders have shown solid academic performance with scores that federal officials say show only partial mastery, the report said.
The review was issued by the National Assessment of Education Progress. The group issues results periodically — they are called the nation’s report card — on how students are faring in key subjects. Louisiana students often score below most of their counterparts nationally in NAEP results on math, reading and science. Achievement levels are set at basic, proficient and advanced.
However, Louisiana and other states are allowed to set their own standards on what scores are needed for students to achieve what state officials call proficiency in math and reading.
Those results are then reported to the U.S. Department of Education under a 2001 federal law called “No Child Left Behind.”
But the report said most states set their proficiency standards around what federal officials consider “basic” achievement, which is only partial mastery of the subject. The results for Louisiana show that:
• In reading, the standard for proficiency among fourth-graders is well below the “basic” achievement level set by federal rules.
• In math, the standard for fourth-graders is just above the “basic” set under federal guidelines.
• In reading and math, the state standard for eighth-graders is at the “basic” standard set by federal officials.
Many other states set their measurements at similar levels.
For instance, Louisiana was one of 35 states whose proficiency standards are below NAEP’s rating for basic in fourth-grade reading, the report noted.
The study said that, in Louisiana, fourth- and eighth-graders showed greater gains on state math tests than NAEP exams between 2007-09, and eighth-graders did the same in reading. NAEP officials noted that state guidelines for math and reading skills show wide variance.
Rene Greer, director of communications for the state Department of Education, said Louisiana and 43 other states are setting up national academic standards, which will make comparisons easier. That effort, called “common core standards,” will start being phased in during the 2012-13 school year.
Louisiana is also one of 24 states setting up a partnership that will allow comparisons of student performance.