NC Public Schools Forum Cites Common Core Tied Group On Skill Gaps

In my inbox, the narrative that the U.S. and NC are behind the world continues to rage.
Common Core peddling NC Public Schools Forum had this update (down below) in it’s most recent newsletter.  Reminder: Academic Standards Review Commission C0-chair, Andre Peek, is a member of NC Public Schools Forum.

It's a trapNote that American Institutes for Research (AIR) stands to gain a lot financially with the continued push of Common Core. They are deep into the testing side of Common Core, which has been highly lucrative for SBAC, PARCC and Pearson.

Funny how a Vice President from AIR is now in charge of reviewing NCLB waivers.  Keep that in mind when you read what AIR says about the states having control over their own standards being ‘fundamentally flawed’.  I smell a NCLB trap for states trying to get out of Common Core.

Oh yeah — AIR has also received over $37 million from the Bill Gates Foundation.

Here’s the update:

NC Standards Update
North Carolina’s Low Marks Against International Standards Reveal Expectations Gap
In 2011, 84 percent of North Carolina’s 8th graders met the state’s proficiency standard in math, but international assessments showed a proficiency rate of just 44 percent. The same year, in 8th grade science, North Carolina reported a proficiency rate of 75 percent, but international comparisons showed just 42 percent of students were proficient. 
This “expectations gap” is playing out to varying degrees in states across the country, according to a new report authored by Gary Phillips, vice president and fellow at American Institutes for Research (AIR), a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan research organization. Phillips analyzed the percentage of students achieving proficiency in reading, mathematics, and science in every state. He then used international benchmarks to compare proficiency levels across states.
Based on his analysis, Phillips suggests that the approach of the federal No Child Left Behind (NCLB) Act, which gives states flexibility to define their own performance standards, is “fundamentally flawed and misleading…because low standards can be used to artificially rack up high numbers of ‘proficient’ students.”
The study’s findings include:
  • States with the highest percentages of proficient students had the lowest performance standards. 
  • The gap between states with the highest and lowest standards amounts to as much as three to four grade levels.
  • More than two-thirds of the difference in state success under NCLB is related to how high or low states set their performance bars. 
  • The expectations gap is more than twice the size of the national black-white achievement gap.
The expectations gap helps explain why many states report strong achievement results and yet the U.S. typically fares poorly in international comparisons. According to the report, “Many states think they have high standards and are doing well, and feel no urgency to improve because almost all their students are proficient.” As a result, Phillips suggests, states’ misplaced sense of satisfaction over undeservedly high proficiency rates may lead to students being denied opportunities to become college and career ready.  
The author’s analysis also demonstrates that when common metrics are used across states, setting higher standards is associated with higher achievement. The report therefore sounds a cautionary note for North Carolina’s new Academic Standards Review Commission by suggesting that moving away from common standards and assessments may lead to undesirable results: lower standards, misleading proficiency rates, and fewer rigorous courses to prepare students for the future. 

About A.P. Dillon

A.P. Dillon is a reporter currently writing at The North State Journal. She resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina. Find her on Twitter: @APDillon_ Tips:
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