The expectations gap

Common Core Standards won’t mean much if some states ask students to learn 30 percent of the material while others demand 80 percent mastery, writes Sarah Garland on HechingerEd. The expectations gap is huge, twice the size of the achievement gap between white and black students, reports an American Institutes for Research study.

Tennessee’s eighth-graders are expected to perform at the level of Massachusetts’ fourth-graders.

Using a common performance standard,  the 2007 state results for No Child Left Behind accountability look very different, the report found.

For example, in Grade 8 mathematics, Tennessee dropped from 88 percent proficient to 21 percent, and Massachusetts went from being one of the lowest performing states to the highest achieving state in the nation. (Note: Since 2007, Tennessee has substantially raised its performance standards)

Another example shows Alabama reporting 78 percent of its fourth graders proficient in math in 2007, but on an internationally-benchmarked common performance standard, just 26 percent were proficient.

AIR recommends using national and international benchmarks to calibrate how high the state performance standard should be.

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