High Standards Help Struggling Students, argues Education Sector in a new report. Using NAEP data, Connie Clark and Peter Cookson Jr. compare “below basic” students in states with low and high standards in 2003 and 2011.
In fourth-grade math, the percentage of below basic students, on average, declined 26 percent among high-standards states and 20 percent in low-standards states. In reading, the decline was narrower, with a 10 percent reduction in high-standards states, and 9 percent in low-standards states.
In eighth-grade math, the reduction in the percentage of below basic students was 23 percent in high-standards states. In low-standards states, the decline was 14 percent. In eighth grade reading, the decline was 10 percent in both cases.
A state’s economic health had no effect on the achievement gap, Clark and Cookson found.
States do not need to dilute Common Core State Standards or set lower expectations to help low achievers, the report concludes.