Eleven states received Fs in math, four in English. Most states’ K-12 standards received mediocre Cs or worrisome D grades from the reviewers. But three hot-shot jurisdictions got A’s in both subjects!
California, Indiana and Massachusetts are the three winners. Checker Finn writes:
Though tying federal dollars to school accountability has been controversial and, in some quarters, deplored and resisted, it was precisely the impetus that many states needed to improve their English standards. Looking across all the states in 2005, (Sandra) Stotsky finds substantial gains, especially in reading standards, which bear the heaviest weight under NCLB. The average state grade rose from 1.98 in 2000 to 2.41 in 2005. Most states have also heeded the emerging research consensus on early reading instruction and are incorporating the recommendations of Reading First into their standards, including systematic phonics instruction. Overall, they do a better job of addressing listening, reading, and writing skills and strategies than five years earlier.
The great weakness in English standards is literature, especially at the high school level.